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Home > Travel destinations > Hangzhou

Hangzhou (杭州), a “holy and beautiful paradise on earth”, is renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty. It is often known as one of the most beautiful cities in China, also ranking as one of the most scenic cities. Although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, it still retains its historical and cultural heritage. One of Hangzhou’s most popular sights is the West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The West Lake Cultural Landscape covers an area of 33 km2 (3,323 hectares) and includes some of Hangzhou’s most notable historic and scenic places. Adjacent to the lake is a scenic area includes historical pagodas, cultural sites, as well as the natural beauty of the lake and hills.

Famed for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and its West Lake (西湖) have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 to 1276. The city’s population is estimated to have been as high as one million in those days, making it the largest city in the world at the time. Even Marco Polo claimed to have passed through, calling it beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world. Since June 2011, the West Lake Cultural Landscape has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hangzhou is one of China’s big tourist attractions. It has many historical relics and scenic spots, including West Lake, and the scenic area near the Fuchun River and the Xinan River. The special local-made products are silk, Xihu silk umbrellas, color-glazed porcelain, Longjing tea, and white chrysanthemum. 

West Lake (西湖)
The West Lake is situated in the west of Hangzhou City. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The lake is divided by Gu Shan, Bai, Su and Yanggong Causeways into five areas. Ordered by their areas, they are Outer West Lake, West Inner Lake, North Inner Lake, Little South Lake and Yue Lake. "Outer West Lake" is the largest. "Gu Shan" or Gu Hill is the largest natural island in the lake. Su & Bai Causeways run across the lake. Three small man-made islands, "Xiao Ying Zhou" (小瀛洲), "Hu Xin Ting" (湖心亭), and "Ruan Gong Dun" (阮公墩) lie in the center of Outer West Lake. Thus, the basic layout is "one hill, two causeways, three islands, and five lakes".

West Lake is not only famous for its picturesque landscape, it is also associated with many scholars, national heroes and revolutionary martyrs, thus embracing many aspects of Chinese culture. In addition, many ancient buildings, stone caves and engraved tablets in surrounding areas are among the most cherished national treasures of China, with significant artistic value.

The West Lake has lots of beautiful scenic spots. In ancient time it was once known for its best ten famous sites. There are more than 100 scenic spots, including 30 protected sites of historical value. In 1982, the West Lake was listed among the National Key Scenic Resorts and announced to the public, and it was added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June, 2011.

Ten Scenes of the West Lake
1 Spring Dawn at Su Causeway 蘇堤春曉
2 Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard 曲苑風荷
3 Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake平湖秋月
4 Melting Snow at Broken Bridge  斷橋殘雪
5 Orioles singing in the willows 柳浪闻莺
6 Viewing Fish at flower harbor花港觀魚
7 Sunset glow at Leifeng pagoda雷峯夕照
8 Twin peaks piercing Clouds 雙峰插雲
9 Evening bell at Nanping hill 南屏晚鍾
10Three pools mirroring the moon 三潭印月

New Ten Scenes of the West Lake
1 Ruangong is let submerged in green 阮墩環碧
2 Precious ston hill floating in rosy cloud 寶石流霞
3 Yellow dragon cave pressed in green黃龍吐翠
4 Clouds surrying over Yuhuang Hill玉皇飛雲
5 Sweet osmanthus rain at manjuelong village 滿隴桂雨
6 Dreaming of tiger spring at hupao valley虎跑夢泉
7 Nine-creeks meandering throug a misty forest 九溪煙樹
8 Inquiring about tea at dragon well 龍井問茶
9 Bamboo-lined path at yunqi 雲棲竹徑
10 Heaverly wind over Wu Hill 吳山天風

Flying Peak is located in front of the Lingyin Temple. The peak is so-named because it is made of limestone, giving it a craggy appearance very different from the surrounding mountains. Legend holds that the peak was originally from India, but flew to Hangzhou overnight as a demonstration of the omnipotence of Buddhist law. A large number of carvings dot the surface of the peak. More are located in various caves and grottoes throughout the peak. Within the main cave, dedicated to the bodhisattva Guanyin, there is a crack in the ceiling of the cave that stretches up to the surface, so that a person standing at a certain position can see a sliver of sunlight. This is known as the "one thread of heaven" (壹線天).

Lingyin Temple, (靈隱寺)—a Buddhist temple of the Chan sect located north-west of Hangzhou. The temple’s name is commonly literally translated as Temple of the Soul’s Retreat. The monastery was founded in 328 AD during the Eastern Jin Dynasty by monk Hui Li, who came from India. It is one of the largest Buddhist temples in China, and contains numerous pagodas and Buddhist grottoes. The monastery is the largest of several temples in the Wulin Mountains, which also features a large number of grottos and religious rock carvings, the most famous of which is the Feilai Feng.

Six Harmonies Pagoda, (六和塔)—is a multi-story Chinese pagoda in southern Hangzhou. It is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, facing the Qiantang River. The pagoda is octagonal in shape and some 59.89 meters (196 feet) in height, it also has the appearance of being a thirteen-story structure, though it only has seven interior stories. The pagoda was originally constructed by the ruler of the Wuyue State in year 970 AD. The name ’Liuhe’ comes from the six Buddhist ordinances and it is said that the reason for building the pagoda was to calm the tidal bore of the Qiantang River and as a navigational aid.

Dreaming of the Tiger Spring, (虎跑夢泉), is a spring and scenic, as well as historic, location in southwestern Hangzhou.The water from the spring itself seeps out from quartzite and is regarded as among the finest in China.[1] The water is popular for brewing teas, such as the local specialty, Longjing tea.Tiger spring is also the burial place of the Crazy Monk Jigong. The area includes wooded pathways, streams, bamboo groves, tea houses, historic structures, as well as the spring itself and other sights.

Xixi National Wetlands Park(西溪國家濕地公園) is the first national wetland park in China, located at the west part of Hangzhou, a total of 10.64 square kilometers (26,300 acres). The park is densely crisscrossed with six main watercourses, among which scatter various ponds, lakes and swamps. XiXi Wetland has a history of more than 1,800 years and an abundant cultural heritage. It’s the original site of Chinese South Opera; it has a traditional Dragon Boat Contest; it contains the vivid life of a water village. It is a great way to see birds and other wildlife. The birds are especially beautiful and varied.

Grand Canal (大運河), also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui Dynasty (581–618 CE).The total length of the Grand Canal is 1,776 km (1,104 mi). The canal’s size and grandeur won it the admiration of many throughout history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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