Lying in Hangzhou, the West Lake (西湖) is a world famous tourist spot. Embraced by green hills on three sides, the lake covers an area of 5.6 sq. km and has a perimeter of 15 km.
The whole lake is divided into five sections, namely, the Outer Lake, North Inner Lake, Yue Lake and Little South Lake, by Solitary Hill, Su Causeway, Bai Causeway and Ruangong Mound.
The name of West Lake was fixed as early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Prtior to the Tang, the lake had used various names, such as Wulin Water, Mingsheng Lake, Jinzhong Lake, Longchuan, Qianyuan, Qiantang Lake, and Shang Lake, etc. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Chinese renowned poet Su Shi wrote a poem to praise the West Lake and compared it to Xishi, a Chinese legendary beauty. Since then, the West Lake has another elegant name Xizi Lake.
The beauty of the West Lake lies in its lingering charm that survives the change of seasons in a year and of hours in a day. Among its beautiful sights, the most famous sites are the Ten Sights in West Lake and the Ten New Sights in West Lake.
The lake is also famous for its historical flavor with numerous celebrities. National heroes Yue Fei, Yu Qian, Zhang Ruoshui and Qiu Jin were all buried by its shores. Moreover, many ancient poets and artists, such as Bai Juyi, Su Shi (Su Dongpo), Liu Yong and Pan Tianshou, had also left countless famous writings.
Accident: Ususally embracing overcrowded tourist seasons in October during China's National Day holiday, the city in 2012 was embarassed to see a number of over 150 spectators onshore injured in its annual firework released in the central lake. The local government pledged to compensate the victims days after the end of the seven-day holiday. And the incident drew big concerns over the country's holiday system.