The most important and most well-known landmark and tourist destination is not within the City. It is the famous and scenic West Lake of Hangzhou, now world renowned for its scenery, landscapes and cultural and historical sites. On the north side of the Lake stands the Baochu Pagoda, which counters the Leifeng (Thunder Peak) pagoda on the south shore of the Lake. The lake itself is surrounded by rolling hills.
You Tube Video: CCTV-9 Opening of worlds longest ocean spanning bridge.
Among the famous attractions of the 6 square kilometer Lake is the Su Causeway, suti (蘇堤), a 2. 8 kilometer long walkway bearing the name of its architect the Poet Su Dongpo, aka Su Shi (苏轼). Su was a Poet, Scholar and highly talented official until his political downturn and exile, among things on the remote Hainan Island off the south-east coast of China. Su is one of the famous and usually rare scholars who dared contradict the Emperor or at least his Courtiers, landing him in trouble during his life-time but earning him the place of an immortal in Chinese History, earned by reputation.
Other scenic sites in the vicinity and region of Hangzhou include the 1000 islands lake - Qian Dao Hu, and the nearby Tianmu Mountain (Tianmu Shan).
As mentioned in the above text, due to its modernity Hangzhou City itself may seem rather bleak and faceless for
first time visitors. There are however a few historical relics and monumental buildings and sites to visit within the City.
Hefang Street is the main Luxury Shopping Street in Hangzhou but is also known as Qinghefang Old Street. One of the historic commercial streets of Hangzhou, today's Hefang Old Street is a noisy and busstling pedestrian street that seems forever clogged with mainly Chinese Shoppers. As a decor for the thoroughly modern shoppers Hefang Street features an abundant of makeshift puppet theatres, tradional stores with Tea, herbs, Silks and trinkets and of course its Gem, the Huqing Yutang Medicine Store and Museum. The Museum is the number one tourist attraction in Hefang Street and is a wortwhile stop-over for the necssary dosis of Chinese Culture. Have a look around inside and appreciate the unique and fully preserved interior, which is representative of the year 1874 AD when the shop was first founded.
Apart from a visit to the new thoroughly restored and thus somewhat spoiled scenic
, the first place traditionally listed on the tourist itenerary is the Tomb of General Yue Fei (1103 AD - 1142 AD), the commander in Chief of all of the Song Armies in their losing battle against the Yurchen (=or Jurchen) Tribes who succesfully invaded Northern China during that Era and among things established their rule over the City of Beijing, establishing the so-called (Northern) Jin Dynasty as they progressed. For his bravery and accomplishments in fighting the Yurchen, the General was posthumously lauded by the Emperor in the year 1163 AD, leaving todays Tomb Complex.
(Read more about General Yue Fei and the fortunes of Hangzhou during the turbulent 12Th Century in:
'History of Hangzhou' and 'Landmarks, Monuments and Hotspots of Hangzhou'.)
Near the Generals Tomb is a second attraction of considerable interest. This is the Yellow Dragon Cave Park . Follow the footsteps all the way up the hill to find a secluded and comfortable corner filled with Tea Houses, Bamboo bushels and a multitude of ponds. Its a fine garden set along the hillside, which is but a stop-over to clim further and find the hidden jewels of this park. At the very top is another soothing pond which is the one giving its name to the Park.
Further jewels of the City Prefecture are the Leifeng Pagoda and its neighbor the Jingci Temple or Chan Zhen built first in the year 954 AD. This Temple Complex, set along the north rim of the scenic West Lake - Xi Hu, is the main religious gem of the City, and the great bronze bell inside the Leifeng pagoda is regarded as the Main New Years bell for the City of Hangzhou. Additional attractions on the West Lake are the Lingyin Temple Complex and the China Academy of Art, the first such Academy to have been in established in Chinese History. Naturally it was in the cultured city of Hangzhou !
A most recent addition to the list of tourist attractions has been the now world famous Hangzhou Bay Bridge, registered as the longest ocean going bridge in the entire world. Since its opening in the summer of 2007, throngs of Chinese but also international tourists have made their way to Hangzhou, not only to see the West Lake, but especially to take a tour of this spectacular bridge. The Hangzhou Bay Bridge is a staggering feat of engineering, not so much because of its length, but because of it crossing some of the most dangerous and notorious waters in the world, as Hangzhou Bay is known for its violent weather changes, deceiving mists and not least for its treacherous currents and the awesome phenomenon of the so-called 'Silver Dragon', which is unique to Hangzhou.
The Qiantang River Bore (Silver Dragon) in Hangzhou is a natural wonder that it is both beautiful and intimidating at the same time. The bore, which is a tidal wave, is formed at the mouth of the Qiantang River where it joins the Hangzhou Bay. The tremendous narrowing of the river from a width of 100 kilometers and the gentle rising of the riverbed at this point constricts the river water and creates a giant wave that is called the tidal bore. This tidal bore has claimed innumerable lives in the past years and is still a threat to the native people of the Yanguan village as it travel at high speed along the Qiantang River upstream and against the usual current. Anything in its path may be destroyed by the wave, which can reach heights of up to 9 meters and travels at speeds of around 40 kilometers an hour.
Needless to say, the danger and the drama of this rare natural phenomenon increasingly draws the crowds, making the Silver Dragon one of the most interesting and spectacular sights or events to catch when visiting Hangzhou.
Unfortunately for tour guides and writers, the Tidal Bore does not keep regular time-schedules. In fact, it may occur at any given Time along the River mouth. However, the most likely
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time is held to be around the occurrence of the full moon. On full moon days the sea's tidal waves are held to be stronger, which in turn drives the currents in the narrows of the Hangzhou Bay.
Naturally the Silver Dragon has also been turned into a Goose with Golden eggs. Thus, the City of Hangzhou annually organizes a festival around the dramatic phenomenon. This Silver Dragon Festival is held yearly in September, always on a full moon day.
The Festival itself focuses that on the watching of the tidal bore reaching its great height. Every year it attracts thousands of visitors, mainly to the site of Yanguan village where the Wave it most easily watched as it rushes over the waters of the river. The sight of water rushing upon water with a supernatural force is formidable and also mesmerizing to many. And yearly some come too close for comfort and are dragged into the waters, or equally bad, washed away when the wave overflows the river banks.. The grayish dark water of the river water, the death toll it has taken throughout the centuries and the enormous height to which the wave rises has given it the name “Silver Dragon” or the “ Black dragon”.
A Full listing of Hangzhou City Landmarks, Monuments, Hotspots and other sites of importance in alphabetical order. Search through the list to find your Full Report and Photo-Virtual Tour of each monument or landmark within the City, or Region of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province of China (PRC).