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Mysterious Lion City under Qiandao Lake

 2014-04-30    Donna    Sights    Hangzhou    4817  

Most visitors to China have heard of the famous manmade Qiandao Lake that attracts visitors from all over the globe. Many visitors are unaware of the mystery that surrounds Qiandao Lake. Beneath the lake lays Lion City also known as Shi Cheng. The ancient city was once located at the foot of Five Lion Mountain but now can be found approximately 25 - 40 meters beneath Qiandao Lake in China. Recently Officials new interest in the underwater city has arisen due to the discovery that despite being submerged in the lake for more than 50 years the entire city has been preserved immaculately transforming it into “China’s Atlantis”.

The Lion City dates back to the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 200 AD) and was first enlisted as a county in 208 AD. It was once known as one of the important centre of politics and economics of Zhejiang province. However, in 1959 the government decided to build a hydroelectric power station was required and therefore constructed a man-made lake resulting in flooding the city and led to its submerging.

In order to build the hydroelectric station a dam was constructed and the historical Lion City was soon completely submerged in water and lay at the bottom of Qiandao Lake for 53 years. Qiandao Lake consists of 1,078 islands that are dotted across the lake. The lake itself covers an area of 573 km² and has a storage capacity of 17.8 km³. Qiandao Lake has become a major tourist attraction over the years with the appearance of themed islands such as: Bird Island, Monkey Island, Snake Island and Lock Island.

The existence of the Lion City was initially forgotten for 53 years until Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism wanted to know what remained of the city. It was one of the most amazing discoveries as beneath the deep waters the city remained in good condition and was remarkably preserved with most of the city intact and the distinct architectural detail still observable. There have been several plans to bring the city above waters but due to costs and risks of damaging the city the plans have been abandoned. Experts believe that the best thing to do is to let the city stay underwater.

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