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West Lake or Xī Hú

West Lake or Xī Hú (Chinese: 西湖; literally "West Lake") is a freshwater lake located in the historic area of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. The lake is divided by the causeways of Sū Dī (苏提 / 蘇堤), Bái Dī (白堤), and Yánggōng Dī (杨公堤 / 楊公堤). There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake.


Hangzhou xihu santanyanyue

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.[1] It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, and was described as having "influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries"[2] and as reflecting "an idealized fusion between humans and nature


Back of One Yuan Bill of 5th Version of RMB


History

The earliest name for West Lake was "Wulin Water" (武林水). In the Book of Han, the "Geography Column" section says, "Qiantang, affiliated to west governor general. Wulin mountain is the origin of Wulin water. Runs east into the sea, covering 830 Chinese miles." Its former names include "Qian Water", "Qiantang Lake", "Mingsheng Lake", "Jinniu Lake", "Shihan Lake", "Shang Lake", "Lianyan Lake", "Fangsheng Pond", "Xizi Lake", "Gaoshi Lake", "Xiling Lake", "Meiren Lake", "Xianzhe Lake", "Mingyue Lake", and etc. But only two names were widely accepted in history and recorded in historical documents. One is "Qiantang Lake", due to the fact that Hangzhou was called "Qiantang" in ancient times. The other name is "West Lake", due to the lake being west of the city. The name "West Lake" first appeared in two poems of Bai Juyi(白居易), "Bestowed on guests as returning from West Lake in the evening and looking back to Gushan Temple" (西湖晚归回望孤山寺赠諸客) and "On the returning boat to Hangzhou" (杭州回舫). Since North Song Dynasty, most poems and articles of scholars used the name "West Lake", while the name "Qiantang Lake" was gradually deprecated. "The request of dredging West Lake" written by Su Shi(苏轼) was the first time that "West Lake" appeared in an official document.


Ten Scenes of Xī Hú

Traditionally, there are ten best-known scenic spots on the Xī Hú, each remembered by a four-character epithet. Collectively, they are known as the "Ten Scenes of Xī Hú" (10 Scenic Spots in Xī Hú 西湖十景). Each is marked by a stela with an epithet written in the calligraphy of the Qianlong Emperor. They are:
•Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring (苏堤春晓)
Best time: Mar-May

It is the first to be mentioned in the Ten Scenes of West Lake. Constructed by Su Dongpo 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.
• Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer (曲院风荷)
Best time: Jul – Aug

The most remarkable view of this area in Yue Lake is the summer lotus. Over 100 species of lotus are planted and small bridges are built connecting the whole scene spot, offering a close observation to the blooming lotus. The stone tablet inscribed with the name of this scene is one of the two remaining tablets given by the Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) of Qing Dynasty (1636-1911)
• Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn (平湖秋月)
Best time: Sep – Oct

Located in the easternmost of Gu Hill and connects the Bai Causeway, this area is a long and narrow garden along the lake. 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.
• Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter (断桥残雪)
Best time: Dec – Feb

Duan Bridge is in the end of the Bai Causeway. Win the reputation thanks to the widely known legend of White Snake, the bridge got its name in Tang Dynasty, providing a picturesque view with hill, pagoda, lake, pavilion, bridge and willows. As the only way to Gu Hill, the snow scene of it is more charming in winter.
• Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset (雷峰夕照)
Best time: Everyday

Leifeng Pagoda was built in 977 during Northern Song Dynasty by the King of Wuyue area (present Jiangsu and Zhejiang) to pray for the prosperity for both the country and the people. However, the pagoda is known to people because of the legend of White Snake, who is said to be locked up below the pagoda. As a landmark attraction of West Lake in the past, together with the Baochu Pagoda in the opposite in the north, Leifeng Pagoda offers a unique charming view under the setting sun.
• Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds (双峰插云)
Best time: everyday

Belongs to Tianmu Mountain, the two highest peaks of the southern hills and northern hills around the West Lake make up a wonderland-like view, which is faintly seen in the clouds.
• Orioles Singing in the Willows (柳浪闻莺)
Best time: Mar - May

Located in the northeast bank of West Lake, it is a large park with various species of plants and flowers. Originally an imperial garden of Southern Song Dynasty, it is also a preferable site to appreciate the beauty of Wes Lake with spacious vision. It got its name from rich willows and the resting on singing orioles.
• Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond (花港观鱼)
Best time: everyday

Originally a private garden of an official in Southern Song Dynasty, this area is a typical southern style garden with flowers, pavilions, and waters that flow into the West Lake. The kingly tree peony and Chinese herbaceous peony as well as kinds of dynamic fish in the water are the highlights.
• Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月)
Best time: Aug- Oct

Also called Little Yingzhou, it is the largest islet in West Lake with an area of 60000 square meters. Regarded as the No.1 attraction of West Lake, it is a represent of water garden of south area of Yangtze River. The whole islet is covered with flowers and trees, especially the willow, lotus, red maple and cotton roses, sending fragrance all the year around. The most renowned of Little Yingzhou is three stone pagodas gracefully erecting in the water, providing one of the selective views on the back of Chinese banknotes. It is marvelous that in the night of midautumn, the mirroring moon on the water surface and lights in the pagodas composing a rather extraordinary sight, from which the name “Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon” is derived.
• Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill (南屏晚钟)
Best time: everyday

Nanping Hill is located in the south bank of West Lake. The name of this scene comes from the bells from Jingci Temple located at the foot of Nanping Hill. Usually, bells ring around 16:00 every afternoon.


   
         
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