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Jiangsu Province, 240km (149 miles) NW of Shanghai, 100km (62 miles) NE of Nanjing

Located at the junction of the Yangzi River and the Grand Canal, Yangzhou was known during the Sui and Tang dynasties as the economic and cultural center of southern China, home to scholars, painters, poets, literati, and merchants. It was also the playground of the rich and famous, starting with the 6th-century Sui Yangdi emperor, who visited courtesans here. The Qing Qianlong emperor visited six times. Today Yangzhou is a charming town with broad, tree-lined boulevards and a network of canals and lakes. Known for its handicrafts, cuisine, and landmarks, Yangzhou certainly has enough to keep you occupied for a couple of days, but it can also be a day trip from Nanjing.