Suzhou is mostly known for its refined garden design. Since nearly half of the city’s area is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams and Taihu Lake one of the four largest fresh lakes in China, Suzhou is often called as the 'Oriental Venice'.
Built in 514 BC, Suzhou is an ancient city with a 2,500 years history. The unique characteristics of the past are still retained in present-day Suzhou. The great period of the garden making was during the Ming dynasty. It has been recorded that city had over 250 gardens, only 100 of them remain today, but only the handful is open to the public such as Lingering gardens, Humber administration or Lion forest gardens. Other sites include numerous temples and pagodas, also Suzhou museum and Silk museum.
The city which has preserved its past, Suzhou has also grown into a major centre of joint-venture high-tech manufacturing and currently boasts one of the biggest economies in the world. It is the world's largest single producer of laptop computers.
Suzhou has a four-season, monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers, and cool, cloudy, damp winters with occasional snowfall. Autumn and spring is considered one of the best seasons to visit the city.