Lying in the southern wing of the Yangtze Delta and in the north of the centrally located Zhejiang Province, Shaoxing, like a pearl with simple but elegant light, stands in the line between Hangzhou and Ningbo. Shaoxing has some of the cleanest skies and some of the best air quality index ratings in coastal China. Covering an area of 8256 square kilometers (3187.7 square miles), it has a population of 4,340,000. The city proper is 339 square kilometers (131 square miles) with a population of 640,000. Two counties, three county-level cities and a district compose the whole prefecture.
As one of the first 24 historical and cultural cities in China, Shaoxing County was a center of politics, culture and culture in southern China from the Qin and the Han dynasties up to the Ming and the Qing dynasties. Numerous accomplished scholars or figures were born or lived here such as Yu the Great in the far ancient China and the famous writer Lu Xun in modern times. This city thus boasts the title of 'City of Personages.'
Shaoxing is also known for its progressive administrative efforts in historical preservation and environmental protection.
Its successful preservation of many culturally important historical sites has furthermore made Shaoxing an extremely popular tourist destination, and in addition to its many historical places of interest has a large number of museums for a city of its size. The county not only bred outstanding people over centuries but also enjoys a fine reputation as a pearl in southern China, birthplace of silk making, and land of culture and the home of prominent scholars.
Although the city appears quite simple and peaceful, the economy here has been developing rapidly. The city was first named Shaoxing in 1131 during the Southern Song dynasty. The name comes from the Shaoxing reign period of Emperor Gaozong of Song, and is a poetic term meaning "continuing prosperity". As its name suggested, Shaoxing County is prosperous, boasting one of the largest marketplaces in China.
Economically, the city's driven by manufacturing of textiles, electronics, and energy efficient lighting. Zhejiang has the fifth highest per capita GDP in the nation, with the city itself at 32nd nationally by GDP per capita. China Textile City in Keqiao is now Asia’s largest textile trading place, with its trade volume accounting 1/3 of the nation’s aggregate.
Shaoxing has long been a hotbed of Chinese cultural activity, producing such luminary figures as Wang Xizhi, Zhou Enlai, Lu Xun, and Cai Yuanpei. It is widely known throughout China for Shaoxing wine, meigan cai, and stinky tofu, and was recently featured in A Bite of China. Its local variety of Chinese opera sung in the local dialect and known as Shaoxing opera is second in popularity only to Peking opera.
Owing to its long history and profound cultural deposit, this old city reveals less vanity and tinsel than some modern metropolis. What's commonly seen and felt here is a kind of leisurely and peaceful ambience.