A few notes are added on some of the chief cities of Chekiang. Hangchow, the capital of the province, and for 149 years the imperial capital of China (under the Southern Sung monarchs in the twelfth century A.D.), is not, as China's antiquity measures time, an ancient city. It was founded in the year A.D. 606. During the Taiping Rebellion it was three times besieged, stormed, and sacked, but it retains much of imperial grandeur and dignity. Marco Polo describes the city, under the name of Kinsay, as he saw it in the thirteenth century.
The history of Ningpo goes much further back. The original city was founded 2205 B.C., just after Yü's deluge. It was moved to its present site A.D. 713, the celebrated "Heaven-invested" pagoda having been erected twenty years earlier. The city is proud of its threefold line of defence—the city walls, the river and moat completely surrounding the city, and the amphitheatre of hills beyond.
Shaohing, the Venice of China in Marco Polo's estimation, is probably older even than Ningpo. There are traces of an original foundation as far back as Yao and Shun, 2357-2208 B.C. There the Great Yü held court after the flood. Shaohing is famous for its wine, and for its manufacture of idolatrous paper.
The other Fu cities are Kiaking, Huchow, Wenchow, Chuchow, T'aichow, Kinhwa, Yenchow, and Chüchowfu. The chief river of the province is the Tsientang, on which Hangchow is situated. This river is remarkable for its tidal wave, which sometimes attains to the height of 12 to 14 feet, with a stretch of a mile and a half in width. It is worshipped by the people, and at certain seasons by the magistrates at Hangchow, outside the south-east city gate, which is called, "The Gate waiting for the Tide." Among the numerous smaller rivers, the river Yung, on which stands Ningpo, may be mentioned. In its upper waters it is called sometimes the Yao, sometimes the Shun, the names of the ancient mythical emperors of China.