Suzhou's history stretches back over 4000 years, according to written records. Built in 514 BC during China's Spring and Autumn Period, Suzhou has been a cradle of civilization, a scene of natural beauty, and a nurturer of talented people. Today, the city population is nearly 2.5 million, with over 6 million in the surrounding area.
Known throughout China's long history as a "Land of Fish and Rice," as well as a "Silk Capital," Suzhou is often considered by Chinese citizens as paradise on Earth. The city enjoys four distinct seasons, mild temperature, and abundant rainfall due to its subtropical oceanic monsoon climate. With a network of rivers and canals as well as fertile land, it is rich in a variety of agricultural products including rice, wheat, cotton, and mulberry.
Suzhou's network of rivers and canals gives rise to the nickname "Venice of the East." Over 60 classical gardens are well-preserved, nine of which are listed in the Catalog of World Cultural Heritage: These include Lingering Garden, Surging Wave Pavilion, Garden of Couple's Retreat, and Garden of Retreat and Reflection. Breath-taking views can be found at Lake Taihu. Thousand-year-old towns provide waterside scenery in the Yangtze River delta. The city has developed attractions such as tours around ancient canals and "Dreaming Suzhou," a large-scale performance of ballet and acrobatics.
In ancient times, Suzhou gave birth to many remarkable politicians, philosophers, strategists, scientists and artists. Today, institutions of higher learning, basic education, and vocational education are making great strides forward. There are two universities, 25 primary and middle schools, and five vocational schools run by non-public organizations. Suzhou Compound City of Postgraduate Schools and Suzhou International Education Park have 300 and 2000 students, respectively.
Portland has been proclaimed North America's "Best Big City," according to Money magazine. Portland is the largest city in Oregon and the second largest city in the Pacific Northwest behind Seattle, Washington.
Portland started as a spot known as "The Clearing," on the banks of the Willamette River. In 1843, Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine beat Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts in a legendary coin toss and named the city after his hometown.
Today, the population of Portland is estimated to be between 500,000 and 600,000. The surrounding metropolitan area is approximately 2 million, or the 24th largest in the United States.
Portland is often cited as a well-planned city. The credit for this starts with Oregon's proactive land-use policies, particularly an urban growth boundary that has spared land from development. As a result, residents enjoy many benefits of a more compact urban area, including extensive parks, efficient public transportation, and less traffic than similarly sized cities.
Portland is known as "The City of Roses." Its climate is ideal for roses, and the city has many rose gardens, including the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. Portland is also home the NBA Portland Trail Blazers, who play in the Rose Garden Arena. Other attractions include the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Forest Park (the largest city park in the US at over 20 km²), Waterfront Park, the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (based on a Suzhou design), and more breweries than any other city in the world.
Colleges and universities include Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, Cascade College, Capstone College, Concordia University, George Fox University, Lewis & Clark College, Linfield College, Marylhurst University, Pacific University, Reed College, University of Portland, Warner Pacific College and Willamette University.
What are Sister Cities
“Sister cities or twin towns are a form of legal or social agreement between towns, cities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation, and to encourage trade and tourism. By the 2000s, town twinning became increasingly used to form strategic international business links between member cities.”