Introduction to West Lake (西湖)
Hangzhou West Lake is a manmade freshwater lake which is separated into five sections by three causeways. It occupies 60 square kilometers in which locates over 60 state cultural relics. The West Lake was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.
The best of West Lake’s scenery is the 10 Classic Poetically Name Scenic Areas. Each of the 10 scenic areas are named using four Chinese characters and the names were first established in the Song Dynasty and continued into the Qing Dynasty.
Features of West Lake
Spring Dawn at Su Causeway 苏堤春晓
Spring Dawn at Su Causeway tops the list as one of the most beautiful sights of Hangzhou’s West Lake. The Su Causeway was built by the famous poet and scholar Su Dongpo during the Northern Song Dynasty. The beautiful scenery at the Su Causeway is accentuated during the spring with the peach blossoms and weeping willows creating a dreamy scene for visitors who wander around the scenic area.
Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard 曲院风荷
Crooked Courtyard is located on the left of Su Causeway and was once a winery during the Song Dynasty. It is said that the winery surrounded by the lotus flowers in the lake created a delightful fragrant aroma which was carried off in the breeze of the lake. Today, the winery is no longer in existence but the area has been transformed into a park where lotus flowers are still in blossom.
Autumn Moon over Calm Lake 平湖秋月
The scenery of the Autumn Moon over Calm Lake is located west of the Bai Causeway. The area consists of a garden with pavilions and a platform which is surrounded by flowers and plants. The viewing platform is ideal for catching a glimpse of the night scene.
Lingering Snow on Broken Bridge 断桥残雪
Lingering Snow on Broken Bridge is said to be the most romantic scenes of the West Lake. The bridge is a traditional arched stone bridge and during the winter it is covered in snow. However, when the snow begins to melt it starts to melt on the northern side first, the other side is still covered in a thick layer of snow which blends into the background, from afar the bridge looks broken. The bridge is also famous due to the “The Legend of the White Snake” which is about two lovers who fall in love but the maiden is actually a white snake.
Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor 花港观鱼
Viewing the fish at Flower Harbor is one of the most enjoyable leisure activities for most tourists to the West Lake. Visitors can feed the fish and enjoy the beautiful flower scenery. The Flower Harbor is situated at the south of the Su Causeway and has a 54 acre park which is filled with a variety of trees and plants.
Evening Bell at Nanping Hill 南屏晚钟
Whilst enjoying the The bell at Nanping Hill can be heard at dusk with the sounds of the bell resonating across the West Lake. The bell that can be heard is located inside Jingci Temple at the foot of Nanping Hill. Jingci Temple is the second most important Buddhist temple in Hangzhou.
Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds 双峰插云
The Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds refers to the two mountain peaks known as North Peak and South Peak. The best time to see the peaks piercing the clouds is on a foggy day or just after the rain as only the two peaks piercing through the clouds can be seen due to the thick fog which creates the illusion.
Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow 雷峰夕照
Seeing the Leifeng Pagoda at with the evening glow is magnificent. The Leifeng Pagoda is located to the south of the West Lake and is over 70 meters in height, the pagoda has been destroyed and renovated many times and today still remains one of the most famous attractions of the West Lake.
Three Pools Mirroring the Moon 三潭印月
Located on the Lesser Paradise Island, three stone towers stand in the waters. Each tower has 5 holes and during the Mid-Autumn Festival candles are lit and put inside the towers and along with the moon that is reflected in the West Lake, the holes also seem to be mirroring many moons.
Orioles Singing in the Willows 柳浪闻莺
Located in the northeast bank of West Lake, it is a large park with various species of plants and flowers. In spring, the most highlighted view of this site is the willows. The large scale of the willow forests and the singing of the orioles are traditionally considered as the vitality of life and nature.
Spring Dawn at Su Causeway, Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard, Autumn Moon over Calm Lake, Lingering Snow on Broken Bridge, Viewing Fish at Flower Harbor, Evening Bell at Nanping Hill, Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds, Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, Orioles Singing in the Willows