Jiangsu is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning (now Nanjing), and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "ËÕ", the second character of its name. It is the province with the highest population density in China, though provincial level municipalities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Tianjin have a higher density.
Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over one thousand kilometers along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through its southern parts. Since the inception of economic reforms in 1978, Jiangsu has been a hot spot for economic development, and is now one of China's most prosperous provinces. The wealth divide between the rich southern regions and the north, however, remains a prominent issue in the province.
Jiangsu Province spans the warm-temperate/humid and subtropical/humid climate zones, and has clear-cut seasonal changes, with temperatures at an average of -2 to 4¡ãC in January and 26 to 30¡ãC in July. There are frequent rains between spring and summer (meiyu), typhoons with rainstorms in late summer and early autumn. The annual average rainfall is 800 to 1200 mm, concentrated mostly in summer when the southeast monsoon carries rainwater into the province.
Jiangsu is rich in cultural traditions. Kunqu, originating in Kunshan, is one of the most renowned and prestigious forms of Chinese opera. Pingtan, a form of storytelling accompanied by music, is also popular: it can be subdivided into types by origin: Suzhou Pingtan (of Suzhou), Yangzhou Pingtan (of Yangzhou), and Nanjing Pingtan (of Nanjing). Xiju, a form of traditional Chinese opera, is popular in Wuxi, while Huaiju is popular further north, around Yancheng. Jiangsu cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of the cuisine of China.
Suzhou is also famous for its silk, embroidery art, jasmine tea, stone bridges, pagodas, and its classical gardens. Nearby Yixing is famous for its teaware, and Yangzhou is famous for its lacquerware and jadeware. Nanjing's yunjin is a famous form of woven silk, while Wuxi is famous for its peaches.
Since ancient times, south Jiangsu has been famed for its prosperity and opulence, and simply inserting south Jiangsu place names (Suzhou, Yangzhou, etc.) into poetry gave an effect of dreaminess, as was indeed done by many famous poets. In particular, the fame of Suzhou (as well as Hangzhou in neighbouring Zhejiang province) has led to the popular saying: above there is heaven; below there is Suzhou and Hangzhou, a saying that continues to be a source of pride for the people of these two still prosperous cities. Similarly, the prosperity of Yangzhou has led poets to dream of: with a hundred thousand strings of coins wrapped around the waist, riding a crane down to Yangzhou.
Nanjing was the capital of several Chinese dynasties and contains a variety of historic sites, such as the Purple Mountain, Purple Mountain Observatory, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Ming Dynasty city wall and gates, Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (The mausoleum of the first Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang), Lake Xuanwu, Jiming Temple, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, Nanjing Confucius Temple, Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, and the Nanjing Zoo, with circus. Suzhou is renowned for its classical gardens (designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), as well as Hanshan Temple, and Huqiu Tower. Nearby is the water-town of Zhouzhuang, an international tourist destination where Venice alike waterways, bridges and dwellings have been preserved over centuries. Yangzhou is known for Thin West Lake. Wuxi is known for being the home of the world's tallest buddha statue. In the north, Xuzhou is designated as one of China's "eminent historical cities". The official travel and tourism website for Jiangsu was set up in 2008.