Suzhou, formerly romanized as Soochow, is a major city located in southeastern Jiangsu Province of East China, about 100 km, northwest of Shanghai. It is a major economic center and focal point of trade and commerce, and the second largest city in the province, after its capital Nanjing. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the shores of Lake Tai and belongs to the Yangtze River Delta region. Founded in 514 BC, Suzhou has over 2,500 years of history, with an abundant display of relics and sites of historical interest. Since major economic reforms began in 1978, Suzhou has become one of the fastest growing major cities in the world. The city's canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000. Suzhou is often dubbed the "Venice of China".