The reputed beauty of Hangzhou is closely related to its mountains, forests and waters. The scenery is encapsulated in the always-charming West Lake which is embedded in downtown Hangzhou like a shining pearl. The city is traversed by the ancient Grand Canal which is a witness of the long-standing prosperity of Hangzhou. It is also known for the roaring title waves of the Qiantang River and the pastoral fun at the picturesque Xixi Wetland, where one can get a glance of the most authentic wetland agricultural and cultural elements.
Hangzhou is located on the southeastern coast of China, at the south end of the Grand Jing-Hang Canal and the coastal city, south wing of the Yangtze River delta. The hilly area of Hangzhou City is at the end of the Tianmu Mountain Chain. The highest point at West Lake Scenic Area is Tianmu Mountain, which is 1,355 feet above sea level.
Beautiful mountains and lakes blend well into the urban agglomerate. In February of 2007, Hangzhou was rated by China National Tourism Administration and the World Tourism Organizations of the United Nations as one of the Best Tourism City of China.
The predecessor of today’s West Lake is a shallow bay formed as the water of the Qiantang River poured into the East China Sea. Covering 14,579 acres in total and having a lake area of 1,606 acres, the scenic area has over 100 places of interest within its confines that are under state, provincial and municipal-level protection and encompasses more than 40 museums and memorials. It is a key state-level scenic site and one of the country’s first state-level 5A scenic spots. On June 24, 2011, Hangzhou’s West Lake was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Related important historical and cultural remains of the Hangzhou’s West Lake landscape include 14 remains. Namely the site of the Qiantang Gate, first built during the 3rd-18th century. Liuhe Pagoda (and the site of the Kaihua Temple), Baochu Pagoda, Lingyin Temple, Jing Temple, the site of the Leifeng Pagoda, statues of Feilai Peak, Yue Fei’s Tomb (and Temple), the site of the temporary palace of the Qing Dynasty. Wenlan Pavilion (and complete library of the four treasures), Stele of Wu-he-fu, Baopu Taoist Temple, Xiling Seal Engravers’ Society and Longjing Spring (pond). These remains distributed around the West Lake and among the surrounding hills, bear testimony to the evaluation and formation of Hangzhou’s West Lake landscape and the diverse and representative traditional Chinese cultures.
Dahua Hotel in the background
Hangzhou Skyline as seen from Hubin Street on West Lake's south shore.
Hangzhou, West Lake is also famous for their Longjing Tea, also known as Dragon Well Tea.