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Natural Beauty of West Lake

 2013-11-25    Ada    Sights    Hangzhou    1892  

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, is the provincial center in economy, culture, science and education. It is a famous city in history and culture and also an important national tourist city with the beautiful scenery, in which West Lake is generally taken as the most charming place.

Paddling a boat over the lake, you can grasp a soul-happy moment. West Lake or Xihu is a freshwater lake located in the historic area of Hangzhou. The lake is divided by the causeways of Sudi, Baidi, and Yanggongdi. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. Due to its prominent historical and cultural status, West Lake was selected as a National Key Scenic Resort in 1982, one of Ten Scenic Resorts in 1985 and a national 5A tourist resort in 2006. Along with its cultural importance, West Lake historically was also of value for local commercial fishermen.

West Lake is famous for its picturesque landscape. Traditionally, there are ten best-known scenic spots on the Xihu, i.e. Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring, Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer, Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn,Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter, Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset, Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds, Orioles Singing in the Willows, Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon, and Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill, each remembered by a four-character epithet. Collectively, they are known as the "Ten Scenes of Xihu" Each is marked by a stela with an epithet written in the calligraphy of the Qianlong Emperor.
Of which Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring ranks the first.

Constructed by Su Dongpo, the most famous governor and historic and cultural figure of Hangzhou in Song Dynasty, in Song Dynasty during his term of office in Hangzhou, the Su Causeway, named after him, goes through the West Lake and abounds in graceful camphor trees as well as other plants.

This evergreen long causeway is rather exuberant especially in spring with participated romantic peach blossoms. During cool autumn, Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, located on the west point of Bai Causeway and at the southern foot of the Solitary Hill and close to the exterior part of West Lake, is at its best season. Leaning on the fence of lakeside and climbing up to the tower to appreciate the beauty of Autumn Moon, you can see the vastness of West Lake and purify the uneasiness and anxiety of heart. It is considered the best site of poetic illusions, particularly with the moonlight in autumn. Here is also the place for a full view of the water scenery of West Lake. As for the Broken Bridge located in the end of the Bai Causeway, the widely known legend of White Snake helps it win its reputation. It is said that Madam White Snake met Xu Xian on the now "Broken Bridge" at the White Dike of the West Lake.

Up to now, visitors may still recall the story as they view and admire this scenic spot. More importantly, the huge quantity of ancient traditional customs preserved in this legend has made it become one of the oral heritages containing the most abundant folk customs in China. Apart from the legend, during the snowing time, the bridge is partly hidden and partly visible, and this is the most classic point of the Broken Bridge. Over the past thousands of years, it was the best site to inspire the elites represented by poets, painters, musicians, Taoists and Buddhists to think about the greatness of nature and the harmony of human and nature.

West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout the ages for its natural beauty and historical relics, and it has been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers, as evidenced by the impact it had on various Chinese classical gardens, and was described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries" and as reflecting "an idealized fusion between humans and nature."

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