Suzhou was capital of the Wu kingdom in the 5th cent. BC, from whence it derives the name Wuxian; it was renamed Suzhou in the 6th cent. AD The city was almost destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion but was quickly rebuilt. In 1896, it became a treaty port. It was occupied by the Japanese in World War II, and in 1949 it passed to the Chinese Communists. Suzhou is famous for its beauty, with many canals crossed by arched bridges and many of the finest traditional private gardens in China. A nine-storied pagoda there (c.250 ft/80 m high) is among the tallest in China. The city has several institutions of higher learning; the Suzhou Museum was designed by I. M. Pei.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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