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West Lake

There are some many “west lakes” in China, however, the most famous one is the West Lake in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province in eastern China. It is a freshwater lake located in the west part of Hangzhou. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake.


Hangzhou-2West Lake has influenced poets and painters throughout China’s history for its natural beauty and historic relics, and it has also been among the most important sources of inspiration for Chinese garden designers. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, described as having “influenced garden design in the rest of China as well as Japan and Korea over the centuries” and reflecting “an idealized fusion between humans and nature”.


Traditionally, there are ten best-known scenic spots on the West Lake, each remembered by a four-character epithet. Collectively, they are known as the “Ten Scenes of West Lake” (10 Scenic Spots in West Lake). Each is marked by a stele with an epithet written in the calligraphy of the Qianlong Emperor. They are:


  1. Hangzhou-5Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring
  2. Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer
  3. Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn
  4. Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter
  5. Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset
  6. Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds
  7. Orioles Singing in the Willows
  8. Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond
  9. Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon
  10. Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill