As one of the first group of "Cultural and Historic Cities" of China as well as a key scenic tourist city, Suzhou has a history of over 2500 years since He Lv, the King of Wu State, established the city in 514 BC. It is still on its original location during the Spring and Autumn Period, and preserves the double chessboard layout of "water and land in parallel, canal and street in neighbor", the network of rivers and canals composing three vertical, three horizontal and one ring, and the unique landscape of "small bridges, flowing water, white walls, black tiles, cultural relics and classical gardens".
At present, 9 classical gardens of Suzhou and the Suzhou Section of the Grand Canal are listed in the Catalogue of World Cultural Heritage. 6 projects including Chinese Kunqu Opera and Chinese Guqin Art are listed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the UN.
As a cradle of generations of gifted people in history, Suzhou is home to numerous celebrities. There are altogether 51 civil and military No. 1 Scholars in history and 104 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering coming from Suzhou, and therefore Suzhou is known as a famous "Hometown of Scholars" and "Hometown of Acadamicians".