DEWBOT XV Suzhou Sights

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This page is part of a series covering Team 1640's 2019 trip to China as an invited team for the RCC Qianjiang International Robotics Open. Other pages related to our China trip are:

Suzhou (苏州) was our first stop in China for the International Youth Robotics Maker Camp at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (西交利物浦大学).

Suzhou was founded in 514 BCE and has the good fortune to sit at a strategic location on China's Grand Canal. The Grand Canal (京杭大运河) was originally constructed by the Sui Dynasty (although there were earlier bits which were incorporated) to connect Beijing and North China's Yellow River with Hangzhou and South China's Yangzi River. It was originally completed in 609, although there were later improvements and changes. The city sits at the juncture of the Yangze River and Grand Canal and became an economic, cultural and commercial powerhouse during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. By the 19th Century, Suzhou had become the largest non-capital city in the world.

The city's good times tragically came to an end with the Taiping Rebellion (太平天国运动). The Taipings captured the city in 1860, kicking-off the city's commercial and cultural decline in favor of nearby Shanghai, which remained under Qing control. Smart businessmen and tradesmen moved there. A modern, western-trained Qing army (the Ever-Victorious Army - 常勝軍) under the command of Li Hongzhang (李鸿章) and Charles George Gordon (who famously met an unfortunate end at Khartoum, Sudan in 1885) recaptured the city in 1863, but its recovery was slow and it remained (and remains) eclipsed by Shanghai. Altogether, it is estimated that between 20 and 30 million people died during the Taiping Rebellion. There is nothing in US history, not even the concurrent US Civil War - our far and away most costly war to-date, which comes close to the Taiping Rebellion in human cost.

Today, Suzhou is a major technology development center. It has a population of 10.7 million.

Egret Park - 28 & 29 July-2019

Our hotel in Suzhou was in a park, Egret Park, on the shores of Dushu Lake.

Suzhou Center Mall - 28-July-2019

Pingjiang Road, Suzhou - 29-July-2019

The International Teams visited the Pingjiang Road (平江路) neighborhood of Suzhou on the evening of 29-July. Suzhou is an old city, founded in 514 BCE, which became a prosperous trading center with the construction of the Grand Canal c. 600 AD. The city was devastated during the Taiping Rebellion of the 1860s, losing commercial dominance to nearby Shanghai at this time.