West Lake, China
West Lake stands out as one of the most sublime out of the several things to see and do in Hangzhou. This is not only because of the poetic way it balances natural beauty and a historic past, it’s also in the stories that have accrued around the Lake, which go beyond the confines of history and touch you on some deep level, not necessarily romantic.
West Lake Trivia
Being a prominent Hangzhou attraction has made this place the focal point around which all the other attractions revolve. Such influence will certainly have left its mark in Chinese literature, which it has, in a saying that goes, “There is heaven above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below.” Even the European explorer, Marco Polo, had something to say about West Lake and Hangzhou by calling the latter the most enchanting city in the world.
Comprising the sight of West Lake, and sort of completing the image, are a series of hills wrapping the lake on three of its sides. In Ancient China, the import of West Lake didn’t go forgotten when the people considered it a zone of fascinating beauty.
Speaking of ancient times, it was then the lake found itself growing from a shallow sea gulf to the residual lake it is today. There are two causeways—Sudi and Baidi—offering access to multiple sections of the lake. These causeways divide the lake into five parts. When you take the time to see a map of tourist attractions here, you’ll find many of them geographically positioned around or within West Lake. Apparently, you have more than just the lake to appreciate.
Being only 15 kms across, it’s surprising how West Lake came to accrue the fame, respect and praise it has over the decades, but one look at its shimmering surface and a few minutes spent taking a boat ride on it is enough to prove to you how underestimated the lake actually is.
West Lake Views
The fertile shores of West Lake touch upon the East China Sea, seen and photographed by thousands of tourists and indigenous peoples alike year round. The views are so unique, they have names appended to them. Here are the 10 views of West Lake: Autumn Moon Over The Calm Lake, Spring Dawn On The Su Causeway, Sunset Glow Over Leifeng Pagoda, Lotus In The Breeze At Crooked Courtyard, Twin Peaks Piercing Clouds, Melting Snow On The Broken Bridge, Evening Bell Ringing At Nanping Hill, Listening To Orioles Singing In The Willows, Three Pools Mirroring The Moon and, finally, Viewing Fish At Flower Harbor.
You can see where the poetry sources and just how much inspiration went behind the naming of ten views that you may hopefully capture through the eyes of your camera and record it for posterity.
Many cultural relics and native products can be found in, on or near the lake, making it a treasure trove of artifacts from ages past. Chinese legends have it West Lake fell from the sky to Earth, in a manner befitting a heavenly jewel. Modernity claims it to be a lagoon hosted upon Hangzhou’s western boundaries. However, facts and legends aside, Art has found West Lake a more than worthy subject and the painters who’ve copied her form onto canvas will say they failed to do her justice.