Thursday, October 10, 2013

China recap: Hangzhou

Marco Polo referred to Hangzhou as the Venice of China, and given our general love of Italy, it was high on our list of places to check out. 

Getting there was an easy trip by train from Shanghai.  Well, I shouldn't say easy, nothing in China was very easy.  Buying tickets was an adventure as always, and we had what I would like to call a "mild panic attack" on the way back to Shanghai, but it was actually pretty major -- I'll have to write about that too.  More accurate to say it was a short trip by train from Shanghai. 

Anyway, Hangzhou only has a population of 6.3 million , but the city draws far more visitors because of its lake, Xi Hu. 

Hangzhou is an ancient city at the end of China’s Grand Canal, and it has been a prosperous town and cultural center for over 1,000 years.  The city centers on Xi Hu, West Lake, and it is surrounded with pagodas, pavilions, monuments, and amphitheaters.  The lake is huge, and has pretty causeways that cut across it diagonally in two spots.  

We took pictures of the map by the train station in hopes of making our way back to it: 

As you can see, West Lake is really the highlight of the city: 
Can't remember this statue, but it was funny to see these kids climbing among the statue to pose:

This is No. 4 Bishengmiao Lane, built in the early 20th century.  The brick-wood structure embodies the transition from traditional to modern style: 

These are plain brick Shikumen buildings: 

And finally, at West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage sight. 

The first part of the lake we saw was the "Golden Buffalo Emerging from West Lake."  Legend has it that during the Han Dynasty (20 BC to 220 AD), there was a golden buffalo laying at the bottom of the lake.  Whenever the lake dried up, the buffalo would emerge and spew water until the lake filled up again.  To win the emperor's favor, local officials asked that local people remove water from the lake by water wheel.  When the lake dried up and the buffalo emerged, the buffalo was angry and spewed water that drown them all.  Since then, the lake has never dried up, and the buffalo has never appeared again. 

More pictures of West Lake: 

Lots of couples go to West Lake for wedding photos:

West Lake struck me as a wealthy city: 

Beautiful temple in the hills around Hangzhou: 

No idea what this was, but pretty:

A mosque in Hangzhou: 
And an iphone picture, not so good:

1 comment:

  1. the lake is fabulous! i love that little bridge...i'm a bridge fanatic.