128 kilometres west of Shanghai, Wuxi lies in southern Jiangsu
Province on the banks of the Jinghang Grand Canal (Jinghang dayunhe). As one of
the oldest cities in China, Wuxi has a history of more than 3,000 years. Previously
under the jurisdiction of Huiji prefecture, during the Zhou and Qin dynasties
Wuxi was rich in natural tin, but was soon exhausted by excessive exploitation.
By the early Han period, the city had already adopted its present name, which
means "no tin".
Set in the heart of the fertile Yangtzi
River Delta, Wuxi has developed new industries including silk production, pottery
and bricks. The fishing industry has also come into its own, helped by the nearby
presence of Taihu Lake.
These days, the area is attracting
more and more visitors, most of them drawn to the tranquil waters of the lake
and the huge buddha icon that watches over the area from close by.