West Lake, Hangzhou

West Lake is located in the western area of Hangzhou City’s center in China. There are dozens of lakes called West Lake worldwide, but “West Lake” usually refers to the Hangzhou West Lake. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides, with an area of around 6.5 square kilometers. The circumference is around 15 kilometers. The average depth of West Lake is 0.8 meters, and the capacity is about 14,290,000 cubic meters. The lake is divided by Gu Shan, Bai, Su and Yanggong Causeways into five areas. Ordered by their areas, they are Outer West Lake, West Inner Lake,  North Inner Lake, Little South Lake and Yue Lake. “Outer West Lake” is the largest. “Gu Shan” or Gu Hill is the largest natural island in the lake. Su & Bai Causeways run cross the lake. Three small man-made islands, “Xiao Ying Zhou”, “Hu Xin Ting”, “Ruan Gong Dun”, lie in the center of Outer West Lake. Thus, the basic layout is “one hill, two causeways, three islands, and five lakes”.
West Lake is not only famous for its picturesque landscape, it is also associated with many scholars, national heroes and revolutionary martyrs, thus embracing many aspects of Chinese culture. In addition, many ancient buildings, stone caves and engraved tablets in surrounding areas are among the most cherished national treasures of China, with significant artistic value.
Due to its prominent historical and cultural status among Chinese scenic resorts, West Lake was elected as a National Key Scenic Resort in 1982, one of Ten Scenic Resorts in 1985 and national 5A tourist resort in 2006. Moreover, the picture of “Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon” was printed on the backs of both the foreign exchange certificate one yuan bill issued by the government in 1979 and the fifth version of RMB one yuan bill issued in 2004, indicating the status of West Lake in China.

Along with its cultural importance, West Lake historically was also of value for the local commercial fishermen. According to statistics from 1977, the 560-hectare lake had the annual fish yield of 1300 kg/hectare, quite a bit more than for some larger lakes (e.g., the 1500-hectare East Lake of Wuhan had the yield of only 450 kg/ha).

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