West Lake

Of all the lakes in China, Hangzhou's West Lake holds a special place in Chinese hearts with its ancient mystic and beauty. Hangzhou is regarded by many as the most beautiful city in China and the city's West Lake is the main reason for this. Su Dongpo (1037 – 1101), a famous poet from the Song Dynasty (960 - 1234) wrote a poem comparing West Lake to the most beautiful woman in ancient China, Xizi.

Created by damming and dredging a section of the Qiantang River, the lake that exists today was formed around the 8th Century though over the years further alterations changed it in certain ways. Its islands and causeways were created by dredging the lake and using the silt at different times through the centuries. The lake beauty is enhanced by the hills that surround three sides of its shores and it is divided into five sections - Outer Lake, North Inner Lake, Yuehu Lake, West Inner Lake and Lesser South Lake.

The majority of Hangzhou's most popular scenic spots and attractions lie around the lakes area. If you want an idea of how high esteem this lake is held in, just take a look at a One Yuan note in your pocket. It will most likely have a picture of "Three Pools Mirroring the Moon", one of the lakes most famous attractions.

This is one of West Lake's famous ten scenic spots, the others being Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring, Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer, Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn, Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill, Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter, Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset, Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds, Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond and Orioles Singing in the Willows.

A lot of effort and conservation work has gone into keeping the Lake and its surrounding area in pristine condition. Circled by walkways and parks full of trees, flowers and wildlife, it is a place where you can wander and get lost in for hours. You will see and judge for yourself why it has been a popular retreat good enough even for the Emperors themselves throughout the centuries.