Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province. It is located along the banks of the Qiantang River, at the southern end of the Beijing Hangzhou Grand Canal.
One of the seven capitals of ancient China, Hangzhou is an ancient cultural city and a well-known tourist city. It is famous for the beautiful scenery of the West Lake. With an area of 6,047 square miles inhabited by a population of 5.2 million, it embraces six urban districts and seven suburban counties, namely Yuhang, Xiaoshan, Fuyang, Tonglu, Lin’an, Jiande and Chun’an. The Fuchun and Xin’an rivers and Thousand Island Lake are national scenic areas. In the 13th century, Marco Polo praised Hangzhou as the most beautiful city in the world. Hangzhou is also famous for its silk and tea products.
The lake was so named because it is located west of the city of Hangzhou. The West Lake scenic zone lies in Hangzhou City in northern Zhejiang Province. The West Lake has an elliptical shape with a water surface of 1,383 acres, and a circumference of 9.3 miles. It is surrounded by emerald hills covered with lush forests, grandiose rocks, gullies, and intriguing streams.
Thousand Island Lake
Some 99 miles from downtown Hangzhou, this lake is located in the Fuchun-Xin’an river region, a state-level scenic spot. There are 1,078 islands of various sizes on the upper reaches of the Xin’an River, hence the name.
The Temple of the Soul’s Retreat
The Temple of the Soul’s Retreat, also known as the Lingyin Temple, lies at the foot of Mt. Lingyin and is one of the most famous ancient Buddhist temples in China. The temple was built in 326, the first year of the reign of Emperor Xian He of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420). In its heyday, the temple had nine towers, 18 pavilions and 75 halls, and housed as many as 3,000 monks. After never-ending cycles of reconstruction and neglect, the damage to most of the buildings is beyond repair. Now, only the Celestial Kings Hall and the Main Buddha Hall are still standing. On Feilai Peak, there are some 330 stone statues from the Five Dynasties, the Song Dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty.
The Pagoda of Six Harmonies
The Pagoda of Six Harmonies, at 196 feet tall, was built in the year 970, but was destroyed in war. It was rebuilt in 1152. Made of brick and wood, it is a representative masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture. The wooden corridors surrounding the pagoda’s thirteen floors were built in 1900. The top floor of the pagoda provides a panoramic view of the rough-and-tumble Qiantang River.
The Chinese Tea Museum
The Chinese Tea Museum is located beside the West Lake, which is the home of the Longjing brand of tea. It has six halls exhibiting the history of tea, tea samples, tea production processes, tea sets and tea customs. There is also a tea ceremony section where visitors can watch age-old and modern tea ceremonies from various parts of China. Visitors are also invited to enjoy tasting the various teas available.
General Yue Fei’s Tomb
The tomb lies at the southern foot of the Qixia Mountain Range. General Yue Fei (1103-1142) was a national hero during the Southern Song Dynasty. He was a distinguished soldier and was made famous during the battles against northern invaders. During the 12th century, when Jurchen invaders from the north attacked the Southern Song Dynasty’s cities, General Yue Fei was the commander who attempted to push north and recover all the lost territories. However, due to a peace party within the capital headed by the minister Qinhui, Yue Fei was recalled to the Song court and imprisoned in 1141, and later executed after being framed by Qinhui. Near the tomb, stands the Yue Fei Temple and a sitting statue of Yue Fei. The memorial temple has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The present structure was the product of the restoration in 1923.
Song Dynasty City
Song Dynasty City, an amusement center, was created on May 18, 1986 and was built after the model of the Song Dynasty. It is the first theme park in Hangzhou and the largest in existence dedicated to the Song Dynasty cultures.
Hu Qingyu’s Hall
Hu Qingyu’s Hall is the only museum of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs in China. Highly experienced experts are invited for clinical consultation.
The China Silk Museum, Feilai Peak, Yanxia Cave, the Nine Streams and Yunxi
Following is a list of all the cities:
The Silk Road