About this sound Hangzhou, also transliterated as Hangchow, is the capital and largest city of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. Hangzhou is also the center of the Hangzhou Metropolitan Area, which is the fourth-largest metropolitan area nationally. It is governed as a sub-provincial city. As of 2010, Hangzhou prefecture had a registered population of 8.7 million people. The built up area of the Hangzhou municipality had a resident population of 6.242 million in 2010, of which 3.56 million lived in the six urban core districts. The built-up area including Shaoxing County and Yuecheng districts of Shaoxing was home to 8,156,600 inhabitants at the 2010 census. Within the Hangzhou Metropolitan Area, about 21.102 million people distributed over 34,585 square kilometres.A core city of the Yangtze River Delta, Hangzhou has a position on the Hangzhou Bay 180 kilometres southwest of Shanghai that gives it economic power. It has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities of China for much of the last 1,000 years, due in part to its beautiful natural scenery. The city's West Lake is its best-known attraction.