West Lake

West Lake in Chinese is Xī Hú. It is a famous for the fresh water and beautiful scenery. The lake is located in the historic center of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The lake is divided by Su courseway, Bai courseway, and Yanggong Courseway.

The lake is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The distance from north to south is about 3.2 kilometers, and east to west, 2.8 kilometers. The circumference is around 15 kilometers. The area is about 6.5 square kilometers. The average depth of West Lake is 2.27 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, West Inner Lake, North Inner Lake, Little South Lak and Yue Lake. “Outer West Lake” is the largest. “Gu Shan” or Gu Hill is the largest natural island in the lake. Su & Bai Causeways run cross 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 famous scenes of West Lake; they all have very beautiful names.

Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring (Sudi Chunxiao)

Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer (Quyuan Fenghe)

Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn (Pinghu Qiuyue)

Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter (Duanqiao Canxue)

Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset (Leifeng Xizhao)

Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds (Shuangfeng Chayun)

Orioles Singing in the Willows (Liu’an Wenying)

Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond (Huagang Guanyu)

Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon (Santan Yinyue)

Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill (Nanping Wanzhong)

West Lake is not only famous for its picturesque landscape, it is also associated with 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 chosen 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. In addition, a picture of the lake, “Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon,” was printed on the backs of both the foreign exchange certificate one yuan bill issued by the government in 1979 and the fifth version of RMB one yuan bill issued in 2004.