Suzhou - formerly "Soochow" - is a part of the Yangtze River Delta region, adjacent to Shanghai and on the shores of Taihu Lake. Written records say that Suzhou enjoys a history of over four thousand years; 2,500 years according to official recognition. It is one of the oldest cities in China, and the cradle of Wu culture. Since its establishment, it has been the centre of economy and culture in the Jiangnan. It is recognized as "The Paradise on Earth."