Xī Hú, literally known as West Lake, is a famous fresh water lake situated in Hangzhou city, eastern China’s Zhejiang province. It is located in the western area of Hangzhou City, and is divided by three causeways called Su courseway, Bai courseway, and Yánggōng Courseway.
With an area of 6.5 square kilometers surrounded by mountains on three sides and around 15 kilometers’ circumference, the Hangzhou West Lake is famous for its gorgeous sceneries and beautiful legend. The average depth of West Lake is 2.27 meters, and the capacity is about 14,290,000 cubic meters.
The lake is divided by Gu Shan, Bai, Su and Yanggong Causeways into five areas. Ordered by their areas, they are Outer West Lake, Inner West Lake, North Inner Lake, Little South Lake and Yue Lake. “Outer West Lake” is the largest. 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”, “Huxing Pavilion”, “Ruangong Stone”, lie in the center of Outer West Lake. Thus, the basic layout is “one hill, two causeways, three islands, and five lakes”.
There are ten most famous sceneries in West Lake, namely Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge, Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, Lotus Flowers in the Breezing Winding Courtyard, Su Causeway at the Spring Dawn, Viewing Fish at Flower Pond, Orioles Singing in the Willow, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, Twin Peaks Piercing in Cloud, Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill and Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow, which attract millions of visitors every year.
West Lake is not only famous for its picturesque landscape, it is also renowned for many scholars, national heroes and revolutionary martyrs, and it is therefore plays an important role in many aspects of Chinese culture. In addition there are many ancient buildings, stone caves and engraved tablets in surrounding areas, and among them are some of the most cherished national treasures of China.
Due to its prominent historical and cultural status among Chinese scenic resorts, West Lake was listed as a National Key Scenic Resort in 1982, named one of Ten Scenic Resorts in 1985, and selected as a national 5A tourist resort in 2006.