Shaoxing ([ʂâuɕíŋ] ( listen); Chinese: 绍兴) is a prefecture-level city on the southern shore of Hangzhou Bay in eastern Zhejiang province, China. It was formerly known as Kuaiji and Shanyin and abbreviated in Chinese as 越 (Yuè) from the area’s former inhabitants. Located on the south bank of the Qiantang River estuary, it borders Ningbo to the east, Taizhou to the southeast, Jinhua to the southwest, and Hangzhou to the west. As of 2010, its population was 4,912,339 inhabitants. Among which, 1,914,683 (Keqiao and Yuecheng districts) lived in the built-up metropolitan area of Hangzhou-Shaoxing, with a total of 8,156,154 inhabitants.
Modern-day Shaoxing lies north of the Kuaiji Mountains, which were an important center of the semi-nomadic people of Yue during ancient China’s Spring and Autumn period. Chinese legend connected them with events in the life of Yu the Great, the founder of the Xia. Around the early 5th century BC, the time of Yue’s famous king Goujian, his people began establishing permanent centers in the alluvial plain north of the hills. Following his freedom from captivity in Wu, Goujian commissioned his advisor Fan Li to erect a major triangular fortification in the area of present-day Shaoxing’s Yuecheng District. Following Yue’s conquest of Wu, though, its royal court was removed to its former rival’s capital (present-day Suzhou) until its own conquest by Chu in 334 BC.
Following the area’s conquest in 222 BC, the Qin Empire’s Kuaiji Commandery was also established in Wu (which then took the name “Kuaiji” from this role) but the First Emperor visited the town in the last year of his reign (210 BC), ascending Mount Kuaiji (present-day Mount Xianglu) and sacrificing to the spirit of Yu.
Shaoxing Guide Map
Lying to the south 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. 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. It is one of the famous historical cities in China. 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.’ It was also the seat of the ancient Yue Kingdom during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-476 BC) and quite prosperous during that time.