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Hangzhou is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang, People's Republic of China. It sits at the head of Hangzhou Bay, which separates Shanghai and Ningbo. Hangzhou grew to prominence as the southern terminus of the Grand Canal and has been one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for much of the last millennium. The city's West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage site immediately west of the city, is among its best-known attractions. A study conducted by PwC and China Development Research Foundation saw Hangzhou ranked first among "Chinese Cities of Opportunity". Hangzhou is also considered a World City with a "Beta+" classification according to GaWC.
Hangzhou is classified as a sub-provincial city and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan area, the fourth-largest in China. During the 2010 Chinese census, the metropolitan area held 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 km2 (13,353 sq mi). Hangzhou prefecture had a registered population of 10,360,000 in 2019.
Hangzhou was repeatedly rated as the best commercial city in mainland China by Forbes. As the headquarters of Internet industry enterprises such as Alibaba, Hangzhou has strongly attracted people who work in the Internet industry. Therefore, in the new growing cities that became popular in the 2010s, Hangzhou is one of the main representative cities. Since 2014, the rapid growth of population has caused the rapid growth of local housing prices.
In September 2015, Hangzhou was awarded the 2022 Asian Games. It will be the third city in China to host the Asian Games after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. Hangzhou, an emerging technology hub and home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba, also hosted the eleventh G20 summit in 2016.
Sights and Activities
The subtropical monsoon climate contributes to varied seasonal sceneries, making Hangzhou one of China's most popular travel destinations all the year round.
The West Lake is undoubtedly the most renowned landmark, noted for the scenic beauty that blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. The "Ten West Lake Prospects" selected from the most frequently visited attractions around the lake give travelers a panoramic view of the city’s highlights. Take a stroll along the causeway by the lake; you’ll feel the peaceful ethos of the city and better understand its time-honored fame as 'Heaven on Earth'.
Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring
As the No. 1 of ten scenes of the West Lake, the Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring is intoxicating and delighting. With a length of 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles), the Su Causeway was constructed under the guidance of the great poet Su Dongpo in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). There are six bridges along the causeway, including the Crossing Rainbow Bridge, the Eastern Lakeside Bridge, the Suppressing Dike Bridge, the Viewing Hills Bridge, the Locking Waves Bridge, and the Reflecting Ripples Bridge. There is a willow or a peach tree every certain distance. In spring, the green willow buds and the pink peach blossoms will take the breath of tourists away, hence the fame.
Winery Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer
The Winery Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer in the northwest of the lake is a time-honored scenic spot. It is said that there used to be a winery surrounded by lotus flowers in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) there. The fragrance of the lotus flowers and the aroma of wine waft coherently through the summer air, hence the name of the scenic spot. Presently, the scenic spot comes in five parts, including the Yuehu Lake, the Bamboo Garden, the Lakeside Woods, the Winery Yard, and the Lotus Pool. With a variety of lotus flowers dancing around, a culture of imperial wine back to the Southern Song Dynasty unfolding for you and a sight of southern-China garden coming your way, what an enjoyably unforgettable experience you have!
West LakeBridge across the lake
Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn
West Lake has been an ideal place to appreciate the glorious full moon since ancient times. The Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn is to the west of the Bai Causeway by the West Outer Lake. It consists of the Imperial Stele Pavilion, an octagonal pavilion, a platform over the lake, and some other buildings. The broad platform is a perfect spot to admire the full moon. In addition, there is a Xiling Calligraphy and Painting Gallery. Tourists can enjoy the beautiful moonlight, and feel the atmosphere of traditional Chinese culture.
Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge in Winter
The Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge in Winter scenic spot is at the foot of the Precious Stone Hill to the east end of the Bai Causeway. Built in 1921, the single-span Broken Bridge is 8.8 meters (9.6 yards) long, and 8.4 meters (9.4 yards) wide. When seen from the Baoshi Mountain after snow, the bridge seems as if it were broken because the snow in the middle part has melted while the snow at the ends is still lingering. The remaining white snow is glistening in the sunshine. It is fabulous!
Orioles Singing in the Willows
The Orioles Singing in the Willows Scene is located at the Qingbo Gate to the southeast of the Outer West Lake. It was the largest imperial garden called the Landscape Gathering Garden in the Southern Song Dynasty. Along the nearby dike are willows of various species. At the center of the garden is the Orioles House. Near the Orioles is a gigantic bird cage called the 'Birds' Paradise'. In March, tourists can appreciate the flying willow branches while listening to the warbling of orioles. It is intoxicating!
Xixi National Wetland Park
Situated in the western part of Hangzhou, less than 5km (3 miles) from West Lake, Xixi National Wetland Park is a rare urban wetland. With rich ecological resources, simple natural landscape and profound culture, it is known as one of the Three "Xi's" along with Xihu (West Lake) and Xiling (the Seal Engravers' Society). It is the first and only wetland park in China combining urban life, farming and culture. Xixi National Wetland Park has not only broad open views, but also a variety of water views. Warm and humid, the area enjoys a comfortable climate featuring abundant precipitation and four distinct seasons.
Three Causeways and Ten Sights: the natural and human landscape in Xixi National Wetland Park are grouped into three causeways and ten sights: The three causeways are Causeway Fu, Causeway Lu and Causeway Shou, as in Chinese, the three words Fu, Lu and Shou carry the meaning of fortune, prosperity and longevity. Causeway Fu is 2,300m (1.4 miles) long and 7m (8 yards) wide, stretching through Xixi National Wetland Park from south to north. Across the bank span six bridges with the Chinese character "Fu". Causeway Lu is 1,600m (1 mile) long and 7m wide, stretching through the core reserve area from west to east. It connects the ecological arboretum with the major scientific research project of the wetland and serves as an ecological bank. With a total length of 3,600m (2.2 miles) and a width of 4.5m (5 yards), Causeway Shou is the longest of the three, stretching from south to north. Crisscrossing waterways and ancient trees form an ecological landscape.
The ten sights are Qiuxue Hut, the best scenery of the Xixi National Wetland Park and the sight that can be reached by boat only; Water Mirroring Red Persimmons; Exhibition of Dragon Boat Culture; Lotus Flower Eco-Reserve Area, the main area for bird-watching; Charm of Hong's Villa, the living place of the Hongs, which fostered a group of celebrities; Boat-rowing in the Moonlight, Fog and Water Fishing Village, a tourist center when one can enjoy local delicacies; Plum Villa, home to more plum trees and famed for its plum blossoms; Gao's Villa, and Music Appreciation in Hezhu.