The average Chinese person had increased growth in their income level as the economy expanded.
The economy grew due to new technological and agricultural advances and efficient trade routes.
The era saw an increase in international trade, as Chinese merchants expanded their trade networks up to East Africa. Using paper money helped motivate people to deal with larger transactions than before.
During a visit in the 13th century CE, Italian explorer Marco Polo described Hangzhou as the most magnificent city in the world.
Hangzhou has been an important city since the 7th century CE, when its Grand Canal was built to connect the urban centre to Beijing. It is the world's longest artificial river.
Woodblock printing developed in Buddhist monasteries to reproduce spiritual texts. During the Song era, it was widely adopted for non-religious purposes and supercharged intellectual life in the Song dynasty.
Hangzhou was a place of great creativity. In the 11th century CE, polymath Shen Kuo (1031 - 1095 CE) invented the magnetic compass, drew the world's first topographical map, and recorded the process of sedimentation.
Other technological breakthroughs includes the compass, the first mechanical clocks, and the invention of forensic science.
The economic and technological advancements of the Song era translated into improving living conditions for the average person.
The Acropolis is a distinctive feature of today's Athens that was built in the 5th century BCE. It is a cluster of buildings on a rocky outcrop. The famous Parthenon temple on the Acropolis was built to honor Athena and to serve the city's treasury.
Athens during the 5th century BCE was lively. The heart of Athens was its marketplace, or Agora (a place where people gather.) The structures surrounding the Agora's market stalls included stone benches, various altars, and temples, a building named the Aiakeion where laws and legal decisions were displayed, and various stoas or covered porticos.