Ningbo lies in the east of Zhejiang Province. It sits at the mid-point of the Chinese coastline, towards the south of the Yangtze Delta. It covers an area of 9,365 square kilometers (3,616 square miles), of which 1,033 square kilometers (399 square miles) constitutes the city's bustling urban centre. Ningbo is the birthplace of the Hemudu Civilization.
Ningbo is one of China's oldest cities, with a history dating to the Hemudu culture in 4,800 BC. Ningbo was also known as a trade city on the Silk Road in at least two thousand ago. It then became a major port, along with Yangzhou and Guangzhou in the Tang Dynasty; thereafter, the major ports for foreign trade in the Song Dynasty.
Ningbo is an important port city and it is about 220 kilometers south of Shanghai. The city's export industry can be dated back to the 7th century. Historically Ningbo was geographically isolated from other major cities. In 2007 the Hangzhou Bay Bridge was built, which cut the highway transit time between Ningbo and Shanghai to 2.5 hours from 4 hours. Today Ningbo is a major exporter of electrical products, textiles, food, and industrial tools. It serves as the economic center for the southern Yangtze River Delta and has been ranked among the most competitive cities in China.
Ningbo is a city with strong Buddhist connections boasting a number of visually-impressive, historical temples. The famous temples in Ningbo include the Ashoka Temple, Tiantong Temple, Baoguo Temple and other Buddhist temples in the city including the Qita Temple, the Tianfeng Pagoda and the Xiantong Pagoda.