The West Lake 西湖


Chinese Name: 西湖

English Name: The West Lake; Xi Hu

Location: Hangzhou,Zhejiang

Type: Natural and historical attraction

Rating Level: AAAAA (5A)

The West Lake 西湖
The West Lake 西湖

Brief Introduction

The West Lake西湖 is located in the west of Hangzhou city, Zhejiang Province, which was originally known as “Wulinshui Lake ” 武陵水湖 and later as “Qiantang Lake”钱塘湖. It began to be known as West Lake since Song Dynasty. It is famous at home and abroad for its beautiful lakes and mountains and numerous scenic spots and historic sites. It is a famous tourist resort in China and is also known as a paradise on earth.

The West Lake is one of the first national key scenic spots and one of the top ten scenic spots in China.

In 2007, Hangzhou West Lake Scenic Area was rated as “National 5A Tourist Attraction”. On June 24, 2011, “Hangzhou West Lake Cultural Landscape” was officially listed in the World Heritage List.

The West Lake 西湖
The West Lake 西湖

Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the West Lake covers an area of about 6.38 square kilometers. It is 2.8 kilometers wide from east to west and 3.2 kilometers long from north to south.

The West Lake 西湖
The West Lake 西湖

West Lake has influenced poets and paints throughout Chinese history for its natural beauty and historic relics, and it has also been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers.

Since 2002, Hangzhou has implemented the free opening of scenic spots around the lake park.

What worth to visit and see?

Scenery spot

Traditionally, there are ten best-known scenic spots on the West Lake, each remembered by a four-character epithet. Collectively, they are known as the “Ten Scenes of West Lake”  西湖十景. Each is marked by a stele with an epithet written in the calligraphy of the Qianlong Emperor.

Other attractions include

  • Long Jing tea farms (龙井茶园), an area renowned for the quality of Tea

Broken Bridge Canxue sites are one of ten scenes of West Lake, the winter is a unique landscape. And Broken Bridge back surface as a result of Hill City is in the North outside the lake and watershed point in the lake, the broad field of vision is the best winter snow watch West premises.

The West Lake 西湖
Broken Bridge of West Lake 西湖断桥

Leifeng Pagoda located on the sub hill of Nanping mountain is a must of travel to the West lake because of its sunset sights. New Leifeng Pagoda was built over the old thunder on the site, Tazuo part becomes ruins exhibition hall, and there are many kinds of literature for visitors.

The West Lake 西湖
Leifeng Pagoda 雷峰塔

Dongpo Pork is a dish named after Song Dynasty (960-1279) poet Su Dongpo, who was also a governor in Hangzhou and had built the causeway across the lake.

The West Lake 西湖
Su Causeway 苏堤


Since ancient times, west Lake has been popular with folk legends and fairy tales such as The Legend of the White Snake白蛇传, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai梁山伯与祝英台, and Su Xiaoxiao苏小小. In the legend of the White Snake, “The broken bridge meets” and “Lady White is crushed by Leifeng Pagoda” are related to the ten scenes of the West Lake.

Over the centuries, the beauty and culture of West Lake have attracted numerous literati, who left behind works of literature and poetry to describe the lake. For example, Dream in West Lake西湖寻梦 and The Enchiridion of Lake and Mountain湖山便览 recorded a lot about West Lake and ancient Hangzhou historic anecdotes. Poets such as Bai Juyi, Sushi, and Hu Shih also wrote countless poems about West Lake.

The West Lake 西湖
King Qian’s temple 钱王祠

In the Southern Song Dynasty, Hangzhou was the capital city, where a group of landscape painters gathered and left many masterpieces.

The West Lake 西湖
Landscapes of four seasons 四景山水图

The Landscapes of four seasons was painted by Liu Songnian with the theme of the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The composition is in Beijing Place Museum now.

The West Lake 西湖
Myriad Pines Academy 万松书院

West Lake is said to be the incarnation of Xishi, one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. Since ancient times, West Lake was associated with a large number of romantic poets, profound philosophers, national heroes, and heroines. West Lake was also the retreat for many Chinese writers of the past. 

West Lake Walking Tour | 4k

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