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Hangzhou West Lake

Attractions in Hangzhou

There are approximately 36 west lakes spreading around the provinces in China, but the West Lake of Hangzhou City is the best. Lying in the west of Hangzhou City, West Lake is one of the best-known scenic spots in China. It is considered as “Paradise on Earth.” In 2007, it was ranked as a 5A (the top) scenic area by National Tourism Administration. Covering an area of 6.5 square kilometers, the average depth of West Lake is 1.5 meters, with a circumference of 15 kilometers. It is surrounded by hills on three sides and downtown area is on the last side.

West Lake was called Wulin Water at the earliest because of the origin of the water was from Wulin Mountain. It previously both the names, Qiantang Lake or Xizi Lake. It started to be called West Lake in the Song Dynasty. The lake is divided by Bai Causeway (Bai di) and Su Causeway (Su di) into 5 parts: Inner Lake, Outer Lake, West Inner Lake, Little South Lake, and Yue Lake.

Bai Causeway was constructed by a great poet from the Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi, who was a governor of Hangzhou. He ordered to plant willow trees along the causeway. The causeway was later named Bai Causeway to commemorate him. Su Causeway was built by another great poet from the Song Dynasty, Su Shi, who was a governor of Hangzhou. He ordered to pile up the mud that influence the irrigation of the farmers and build another causeway to so that the farmers could use the water conveniently. Su Causeway was then named after him.

Many Emperors from different Dynasties visited the West Lake for more than one time. Among them, Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty visited West Lake five times and gave the names of “Ten Scenes of West Lake,” the steles of which were later erected by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty who visited West Lake six times. The scenic areas in the West Lake region are as follows: 1 lake, 2 peaks, 3 springs, 4 temples, 5 hills, 6 gardens, 7 caves, 8 tombs, 9 creeks, and 10 scenes of West Lake.

There is not only natural scenery and historical and cultural artifacts around West Lake, but also various plants. All types of flowers and plants blossom in different seasons around West Lake, such as peach blossoms, lotus, plum blossoms, tulips, and osmanthus (the city flower of Hangzhou), which add beauty to the lake and improve the environment of the city.