Suzhou is a well-known historic and cultural city as well as a tourist city of national importance. Built in the Spring and Autumn Period (514 B.C.), with a history of more than 2,500 years, the city of Suzhou now still stands at its original location, with its well preserved double chessboard layout of “water and land in parallel, canals and streets as neighbor”, its famous network of rivers and canals, and its unique landscape of “small bridges, flowing water, white walls, black tiles, cultural relics and classical gardens”. There are 487 cultural relics in Suzhou, including 69 classical gardens, 9 of which are listed as World Cultural Heritage: the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Master-of-nets Garden, the Mountain Villa of Embracing Beauty, the Surging Wave Pavilion, the Lion Grove Garden, the Garden of Cultivation, the Garden of Couple's Retreat, and the Garden of Retreat and Reflection. In addition, the city is surrounded by small historic towns like Zhou Zhuang, Tongli and Luzhi which feature the waterside sceneries in the Yangtze River Delta. In 1998 Suzhou was awarded “Excellent Tourist City of China”.
Today, Suzhou is becoming more and more famous not only for its historic attractions and tourism, but also for its quick development and modernization. It is growing into an excellent combination of: advanced manufacturing industry base on leading new and high technologies; strengthened cooperation among industries, academia and research institutes, supported by a large group of top scientists; modern ecological agriculture with high technology content and high economic returns; and various resorts integrating scenic spots with historic attractions, etc. Built in 514 B.C., Suzhou keeps high-speed developing in the 21st century, and continues exhibiting its beauty to the whole world.