City of memories

By Xing Yi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-14 08:18:19

City of memories

Book cover of Memories of a Heavenly City. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Foreigners' photos of early 20th-century Hangzhou are in focus after the recent G20 Summit, Xing Yi reports.

Old photos of a city are always interesting to look at as they freeze time and capture history for those who come later to visit or live.

Many foreigners took photos of Hangzhou in the early 20th century. Some lived in the city in East China for years. Others came on visits. Through their lenses, the city's beautiful scenery and the lives of its residents documented a century ago still arouse memories of a time when Hangzhou was as attractive as it is today.

Memories of a Heavenly City and Kaleidoscopic Views of the West Lake are two photo books edited by Shen Hong, a professor at Zhejiang University, who has long researched old photos taken by foreigners in China. They have become timely in the light of the G20 Leaders Summit held in Hangzhou earlier this month.

Photos in the first book were taken by the late Robert Fitch, who spent most of his adult years living in Hangzhou, the "heavenly city". A Chinese saying goes: "There's heaven above, and Suzhou and Hangzhou below."

Suzhou, a city of waterways and ancient gardens, is near Hangzhou.

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