The West Lake

The lake, which derived its name from its location west of Hangzhou city, has been famous for centuries. Indeed it has history as long a Hangzhou itself, and became famous as far back as the Han Dynasty. All around there are groves of trees which come into blossom at different times of the year: peach in spring, acacia in autumn plum in winter.

The lotus blooms on the lake during summer. Two causeways cut the lake, the Su Causeway, known as Su Dong Po Dike, or Su Ti to the west, and the Bai Causeway, known as Bai Ju Wi, or Bat Ti, to the north. Su Dons Po was a famous Chinese poet. The road passing along the Su Causeway crosses six bridges and this gives the causeway its other name, the Six Bridge Dike, or Liu Qiao Ti. The Bai Causeway is called after another famous poet who was governor of Hangzhou in the eighth century.

The causeways control the water and cut the lake into three sections: the outer section, which is the largest; the inner section to the west and the rear lake to the north. The lake has a surface area of about 1,240 acres and an average depth of six feet. As wider part it is approximately two miles wide by two miles long.

Three islands stand within the lake, the largest known as the Solitary Hill, or GIt Siren. You can get there from the Hangzhou Hotel by crossing a small bridge, or from the city by passing along the Bai Causeway. The Zhejiang Museum is on the island, housed in the old Wen Lint Ge Library founded by Emperor Qian Long. It is on the eastern side of the Sun Yatsen Garden. The library is on the western side. Other places of interest on the island are the Pavilion of the Autumn Moon on the Calm Lake and the Xi Leng Seal Engravers’ Society. There are also several tombs. One is the tomb of the Song poet Lin He Qing on the north of he island: another is the tomb of Su Xiao, a legendary beauty of the fifth century. Her tomb is near the bridge linking the island a he western gild to the mainland.

There is also a temple, the Sheng Yin Si, which after the 1912 revolution was dedicated to the memory of the Provincial Revolution ary Army. The Louwailou Restaurant and Zhongshan Park are also located on the island.