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Lying on the west edge of Hangzhou city, the beautiful West Lake covers a total area of 6.3 sq. km including islands in the lake and with an average depth of 2.27 m. It is divided into 5 areas by Su Causeway and Bai Causeway: Outer West Lake, West Inner Lake,North Inner Lake, Little South Lake and Yue Lake. In ancient times, this place had been a shallow sea gulf before it evolved into a "residual" lake, a term used in geography. Embraced by mountains and hills on three sides, the lake contains glittering blue water with Bai and Su Causeways lying calmly in it. Three islets of Lesser Yingzhou, Mid-Lake Pavilion and Ruangong Dun tripartitely stand at the centre of the lake which is girdled by a number of parks with myriad blossoming flowers and dense trees to hide in vain picturesque pavilions and towers. Here, one's poetic sentiments are inspired. The surrounding hills home miraculously shaped peaks and serene forests and springs, providing scenes to supplement those of the Lake. There hide amidst these hills China's national art treasures as ancient engraved stone tablets, architecture and stone figure carvings.
The beauty of the West Lake lies in a lingering charm that survives the change of seasons in a year, of hours in a day, and of different weathers. Ancient people praised the lake as a "home of hundreds of tourist sites where you get intoxicated all the time". To demonstrate its beauty, the lake offers 10 most famous scenes as Spring Dawn at Su Causeway, Melting Snow at Broken Bridge, Sunset Glow over Leifeng Hill, Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard, Autumn Moon on Calm Lake, Listening to Orioles Singing in the Willows, Viewing Fish at Flowers Pond, Evening Bell at Nanping Hill, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds. No wonder the Song Dynasty poet Su Shi compared the Lake to Xizi, a Chinese Cleopatra: "Ripping water shimmering on sunny day, Misty mountains wonder in the rain, Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi, the West Lake is always alluring". So the lake is also known as Xizi Lake.
Part of the outer West Lake, the site is well landscaped, creating an impression of "an islet in a lake and a lake on an islet." There are three pagodas built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) rising from the lake, each with five openings. On moonlit night, the pagodas release shafts can release candlelight on the night of the Moon Cake Festival in mid-autumn, when the moon is full.
Standing on the Baoshi Hill by the West Lake, the 45.3m tall landmark towers over the scenic spots in the lake, adding beauty to the scenery.
On the 18th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, visitors will witness the spectacular Qiantang River Tide when a huge wall of water rushes in with a thunderous roar. The best site for the view is at Yanguan Town of Haining County.
Hangzhou has other scenic attractions including the Geling Hill, the Huanglong Cave, the Ziyun Cave, the Yuquan Spring, the Longjing Well, the Hupao Spring, the path called Nine Brooks and Eighteen Dales, the Three Caves on the Yanxia Mountain, the Wuyun Mountain and the Yunqi Hill. Near Hangzhou are also tourist attractions of Yaolin Fairy Cave, Fuchun River, Xin'anjiang River and the Qiaodao Lake.
Su Causeway-Spring Down at Su Causeway, Bai Causeway-Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge, Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, Solitary Island-Xiling Seal-Engravers' Society, and Yanggong Causeway (it is 3328m long. Originally it was built of clay from the West Lake by Yang Mengying in 1508 when he was the governor of Hangzhou and organized a dredging of the West Lake. It was rebuilt in 2003). Winery Yard and Lotus Pool, Guo's Villa (originally named Duanyou Villa and Song Villa, it was built by a silk merchant called Song Duanfu in the 33rd year of Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty. It was later transferred to a Guo Family of Fenyan and renamed as Fenyan Villa or Guo's Villa which was more common. It is typical of the garden architecture in the south of the Yangtze River). Flower Pond Park-Viewing Fish at Flower Pond (A private garden of an official in the Southern Song Dynasty. It was built between the hills and the West Lake 800 years ago. Since a clear stream from Huajia Hill ran through here and down into the West Lake, it was named as flower pond. It is now an ideal resort to view fish and enjoy peonies).
Music Fountain (the large dancing music fountain is 126 m long at Hubin, it exhibits great momentum when spraying water, It changes its position high above the ground and dance with Chinese or foreign music), Maojiabu Scenic Area and Hubin Road Tour and Trade Specialty Street (international famous products streets).
Memorial of King Qian, Jingci Temple-Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill, Oriels Singing in the Willows, Leifeng Pagoda in the Evening Glow, Manjuelong-Sweet Osmanthus Rain, Tiger Spring-Dreamlike Tiger Spring, Heavenly Wind at Wushan Hill, Chenghuang Pavilion, Wansong School, Jade Emperor Hill-Cloud Scurrying over Jade Emperor Hill. Dragon Well-Tea Tasting at Dragon Well, Dragon Well Garden, Nine Creeks in Misty Forest, Yunqi Scenic Area, Meijiawu Tea Culture Village, Pagoda of Six Harmonies and Tide Viewing at Qiantang River (a world wonder, the Qiantang river tidal bore is famous for spectacle. The tide viewing, which originated in Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms, has had over 2000 years of history. The tide would be the greatest around August 18th according to the lunar calendar. Besides Qiantang River at Xiaoshan District, you also could be seeing the splendid tide in the city area. It is said that Wu Song and Lu Zhishen who were the core characters in Chinese classical novel Outlaws of the Marsh died here).
Baochu Pagoda-Precious Stone Hill Floating in Rosy Cloud, Tomb of Su Xiaoxiao (Su Xiaoxiao, who was said to live in the Southern Dynasties, was a famous geisha and excellent in both talent and beauty. She ever sponsored a poor scholar called Bao Ren who went to the capital to take the royal examinations. Scholar Bao succeeded in the examination when she died. She was buried beside the Xiling Bridge according to her will). Tomb of Wu Song, Temple of General Yue Fei (it was initially built in 1221 to memorizing Yue Fei, a patriot of Southern Song Dynasty), Yellow Dragon Cave-Yellow Dragon Cave dressed in green and Linyin Temple-Peak Flying-from-Afar. Surely there are countless scenes available. If you really want to enjoy her beauty, you will find more and better fascination from tours by yourself.
The shimmering ripples delight
the eye on sunny days
The dim hills present a
rare view in rainy haze.
West Lake compares to
xizi the beauty at her best
She is gorgeous richly clothes
or plainly dressed.