There are 36 lakes named West Lake in China. But when mentioned West Lake, it usually refers to the Hangzhou West Lake. West Lake is a very attractive scene in Hangzhou so that it is praised as "Paradise on Earth".
The West Lake is located in the west of Hangzhou City's center. It was once called as "Wulin Water" and "Qiantang Lake" and named West Lake in Song Dynasty. It is surrounded by mountains on three sides with an area of 6.5 square kilometers. The circumference is around 15 kilometers. The average depth of the West Lake is 1.55 meters, the maximum depth reaches about 2.8 meters and the minimum depth is less than 1 meters. The capacity is about 8,500,000 to 8,700,000 cubic meters. The lake is divided by the causeways of Suti and Baiti into five areas which are Outer West Lake, West Inner Lake, North Inner Lake, Little South Lake and Yue Lake. The Outer West Lake is the largest. Gushan or Gu Hill is the largest natural island in West Lake. Three small man-made lakes, "Xiao Ying Zhou", "Hu Xing Ting" and "Run Gong Dun", lie in the center of the lake.
The West Lake takes on different scene in a day and in four seasons. The scholar sorted and depicted the different views in West Lake. These famous views are defined as "Ten Views of West Lake" including Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter, Viewing Fish at Flower Pond, Leifeng Pagoda in the Sunset, Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill, Moon over the Peaceful lake in Autumn, Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds, Carved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer, Orioles Singing in the Willows, Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon and Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring.
Remnant Snow on the Bridge in Winter: It snows every winter in Hangzhou and when the sum comes out after snowfall, the snows on the sunny side first melt and on the shady side is still covered by snow. Looking from the shady side, the bridge seems to be broken.
Viewing Fish at Flower Pond: This scenic spot is the best place to view fish in the pond. Few thousands of red carps are bed in the pond. On the bank of the pond are planted various kinds of trees and flowers among which some blossom out in winter. Leifeng Pogada in Sunset: Leifeng Pogada is erected on the Evening Glow Hill situated on the south bank of the West Lake. The pagoda bathed in the evening glow at sunset, which looks like the pagoda gives out light.
Evening Bell Ringing at Nanping Hill: Nanping Hill is located at the south shore of the West Lake. At the foot of the hill stands Monastery of Pure Compassion. Formed of limestone, Nanping Hill contains lots of caves and cavities. When the bell in Monastery of Pure Compassion is stroke in the evening, the sonorous ringing echoes through the caves and cavities, even reaches as far as the other shore of the lake.
Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn: This spot is located at the west end of Bai Causeway and at the southern foot of Gu Hill. It should the best place along the lake side to appreciate the beautiful full lake.
Two Peaks Piercing the Clouds: Two peaks refer to the Northern Peak and South Peak which are two offshoots of Tianmushan Mountain. They were famous Buddhist mountains in ancient times. On the top of the peak stand temples and pagodas. Carved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer: This spot is situated at the west shore of the lake. In Song Dynasty, an imperial alcohol factory was constructed on the bank of the river. The lotus was planted in the pool. In the summer, the air was scented with delicate fragrance of lotus intermingled with the tasteful bouquet of wine.
Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon: Xiaoyingzhou or Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon is the largest island in the West Lake. Among the three islands, Xiaoyingzhou is the finest and largest one which is recommended as the best scenic spot in the West Lake.
Dawn on the Su Causeway in Spring: Su Causeway is three kilometers long from north to south with the width of 36 meters. The willows were planted on the each side of Su Causeway. There are six bridges along Su Causeway offering the different viewing. In spring rain day, you may feast your eyes with emerald green sallow swaying in the drizzle.