Hangzhou, formerly known as Hangchow, is a major city located in the Yangtze River Delta region of the People's Republic of China, and the capital of Zhejiang (浙江) province. It is governed as a sub-provincial city, and as of 2004, its entire administrative division or Prefecture-level city had a registered population of 6.4 million people. The Urban agglomeration of the Hangzhou metropolitan area has a resident population of 3.9319 million as of 2003, of which 2.6367 million are permanent residents.
Hangzhou is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is known as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic cities. Although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, it still retains its historical and cultural heritage. Today, tourism remains an important factor for Hangzhou's economy. One of Hangzhou's most popular sights is West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The West Lake Cultural Landscape covers an area of 3,323 ha (8,210 acres) and includes some of Hangzhou's most notable historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area which includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills, including Phoenix Mountain.