An Introduction to Zhejiang Province.
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Adjacent to Shanghai, Zhejiang is located in the southern flank of the Yangtze River Delta along the southeast coast of China, with Hangzhou as its capital city. Encompassing 6,400-plus kilometers of coastlines and over 3,000 islands, it has formed a large port group mainly consisting of Ningbo, Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Zhapu and Haimen ports. Ningbo’s Beilun Port has the 3rd and 4th generation international container terminals, 14 berths ranging in capacity from 25,000 to 200,000 tons and smooth navigable fairways for 200,000 ton ships. Its annual handling capacity ranks 2nd in China. It has established 98 sister ties with various provinces, states, cities and counties in 32 countries, including Japan, the USA, Germany, Australia, the UK, France, Italy and the Republic of Korea. It has also established business relations with more than 190 countries and regions all over the world. “In heaven there is paradise; on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou” is a proverb known to every Chinese. Hangzhou’s fabled West Lake is probably China’s best-known beauty spot. With its willow trees, lotus blossoms in July and arched stone bridges, it confirms to every one’s idea of what Chinese scenery should look like. Many Chinese come here for sightseeing. The huge lake has four landscaped islands and the whole area is dotted with pavilions and temples. In addition to enjoying the scenery, tourists may visit silk factories (as in Suzhou) and also one of the tea plantations producing the famous Dragon Well tea. Dubbed as “Golden Sprout,” it is known as the king of green tea and famous for its green colour, fragrance, good taste, and beautiful shape.
The Peak That Flew Here 飞来峰
The peak That Flew Here directly faces Souls’ Retreat Temple. In about 326 in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), a Buddhist devotee came from India and insisted that this hill, 168 meters above sea level, resembled exactly one in his own country. He asked when it had flown to Hangzhou. To fortify his claim he said that the hill had a white monkey in a cave there. When recognized as The Peak That Flew Here. The hill is smaller and has more bizarre rocks and caves than those around it. It is also cut off from the other hills by a winding valley in which a stream flows. It is different too in having rocks of limestone rather than sand stone, as do the other hills.
One large cave in the hill can accommodate several hundred people. Continuing erosion has gradually produced cracks in the roof letting in daylight. On The Peak That Flew Here are over 280 ancient stone sculptures dating between the 10th and 14th centuries (Five Dynasties, Song and Yuan dynasties). These are important examples of ancient sculptural art south of the Yangtze River.
Pagoda of Six Harmonies 六和塔
Pagoda of Six Harmonies is 60 meters high and was built of wood and bricks to subduing the bore in 1970. An octagon supported by 24 pillars, the pagoda has 13 upturned eaves, which become progressively narrower toward the top. Contributing to the pleasing contour of the structure, a spiral staircase leads to the top of the seven-storey pagoda, the ceiling of each storey carved and painted with figurines, flowers, birds and animals whose colours are fresh and refined. Viewed from a distance the pagoda appears to be layered, bright on the upper surface and dark underneath, a technique used in ancient Chinese architecture to alternate light and shade and clearly delineate the pagoda for an attractive long-distance view. A panoramic view of the Qiangtang River (totaling 410 kilometers and the drainage area being 42,000 square kilometers) and its bridge (construction of the bridge started on August 8, 1934 and was completed on September 26, 1937; the 1,322-meter-long bridge was designed by Mao Yisheng(1896-1989), a bridge expert; it is double-decked, with double railroad tracks below and a four-lane highway above) is afforded from the top. If tourists are on any of the three days after the Mid-Autumn Festival (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month), they will witness the spectacular Qiantang River Bore (one of the magnificent sights of Nature in China自然伟观之一) when a huge wall of water rushes in with a thunderous roar. The roar of the high tides is answered by the beating of gongs and drums along the banks of the river, creating an occasion never to be forgotten.
Lingyin (Soul’s Retreat) Temple 灵隐寺
The name of Lingyin Temple or Soul’s Retreat Temple comes naturally from its quiet surroundings. With deeply forested hills on three sides, the temple is really a hideaway. It is the largest and most resplendent temple in Hangzhou. Built during the Eastern Jin Dynasty some 1,600 years ago, the temple was ruined and rebuilt many times over the centuries. It has recently taken on a completely new look showing the original splendour. In the Hall of the Heavenly King seated in the center is a statue of Maitreya, the fat-bare-bellied Buddha with a smiling face. The walkway from this hall to the main hall, which contains the famous statue of Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism, is paved as though carpeted with green flagstones. The magnificent 19-meter-high statue is seated on a lotus flower amidst great red pillars and murals of a hundred cranes. Carved of camphor wood and gilded in gold, one foot of the statue measures 1.8 meters. Behind Sakyamuni is a colourful group-sculpture of 150 Buddhas representing an episode from the Buddhist scriptures. Another remarkable work of art is a sculpture of a Bodhisattva on the back of a whale on waves of the sea. Tourists know Chinese appreciate browsing among the scrolls on which are copied poems and couplets. One narrated of the celebrated litteratus and calligrapher of the Northern Song Dynasty Su Dongpo 苏东坡1073-1101）handling a case while he was Prefect of Hangzhou杭州知府或州府长官. The story tells about the owner of a fan shop who was charged with non-payment of a debt. The accused explained that he could not pay because he had not been able to sell his wares owing to continual rain and cold weather. Su Dongpo took up his brush and painted such attractive pictures on twenty of the shop-owner’s fan that they sold immediately, enabling the man to pay his debt at once. This story, true or not historically, indicates how deeds performed in the people’s interest are cherished.
Hangzhou Orient Culture Park 杭州东方公园
Situated on the southern bank of the Qiantang River, the theme park encompasses more than 133 hectares (51.338 acres). Hangzhou Orient Culture Park, a traditional Chinese culture theme park, was completed in May 2001. The park presents an array of traditional Culture including Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. The park is built around the restored Yangqi Temple, which was first constructed in 1209 during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). The temple had been a holy land for local Buddhist devotees since inception. It was designated a Buddhist Culture Exhibition Center of China by the Chinese Religious Society soon after its restoration in September 2000.
Donated by the Palace Museum (known in the West as the Forbidden City) in Beijing, 16 Buddha statues including several worshipped by emperors and queens of the Qing Dynasty are currently on display in the “Underground Palace of the Golden Pagoda.” The Golden Pagoda was built following the Buddhist architecture style in Thailand. In order to make the park a Buddhist exhibition center, Buddhist cultural heritage from other countries have been introduced, especially countries in Southeast Asia. The park is one of the key tourism Culture projects of Hangzhouand 300 million yuan (US $ 36 million) has been invested in it. The park boasts six main sections, such as the Century Square, Confucianism section, Buddhist section, Taoist section, a resort section, and a landscape section.
Mount Putuo 普陀山
Mount Putuo is located in the Zhoushan Islands of Zhejiang Province. Legend has it that Guanyin once showed her bodily presence here and left a number of famous historical sites. People have given beautiful names to the island: Buddhist Paradise on the Sea, Land of Peach Blossoms, and Mount of Immortals on the Sea.
Local people in the past suffered much and yearned for release from worldly cares, therefore, they created an idol, the Guanyin (also Guanshiyin or Goddess of Mercy); (Sanskrit梵文) Avalokitesvara (literally “looking on or hearing the voices of the suffering”). Guanyin is said to be “greatly merciful” and will help the needy and relieve the distressed. “In India, Guanyin was regarded as of the male sex while in China he turned into a Goddess of Mercy.” This is in line with the wish of the people.
Over 1,100 years ago, the island was very ordinary. It was called Mount Meicun because Mei Fu of the HAN Dynasty had once lived here. A Japanese monk who came to China to seek for hope obtained a bronze statue of Guanyin from Mount Wutai. He planned to sail across the sea to return to the homeland, but when he reached the island he was stopped by a storm. He believed that Guanyin was reluctant to leave, so he landed and built an “Unwiling to Leave Nunnery” in the place. The monk’s name was Hui’e and he is remembered in history. From that time on, hope has remained on this island and the piety of the people has made Guanyin all the more miraculous. According to Buddhist Scripture, Guanyin lived in Mount Putuo Luojia in the south. Thus the name of Mount Meicun was changed into Mount Putuo. This was also the wish of the people.
Liang Zhu Culture 良渚文化
Archaeologists have unearthed another ancient tomb of the famous Liang Zhu Culture in a city at the northern part of Zhejiang Province. The discovery after nine hours of excavations on July 15, 2001 sheds new light on the pre-historic Liang Zhu civilization which evolved on the vast land around Lake Tai about 4,500 to 5,500 years ago. And experts regard the excavation works on the Culture as one of the most important sources for the study of the earliest origins of Chinese civilization. In the newly found tomb in Xin Dili, Tongxiang, more than 30 pieces of exquisite relics were revealed, including pottery, stoneware and many other scattered tube-shaped and pearl-shaped jade ware. Most of the jade ware was body decorations, while several stone knives were used as arms or tools of production. As the special white colour of those little items of jade ware tells us, the tomb is at least 4,000 years old, known as the later period of the Liang Zhu Culture. This newly exhumed tomb has added many more real objects to our study of the later period of Liang Zhu Culture, and has helped us gain an even greater insight into the highly civilized society, which used to exist here several thousands years ago. The tomb was around 3.77 meters long and 1.8 meters wide. The tomb is part of a large group of graves, which are all located in Xin Dili, Tongxiang, one of the most important locations of the Liang Zhu Culture on the southern side of Lake Tai. Experts say the group pf graves, which was discovered in Xin Dili on March 21 , 2001 and has been unearthed one by one ever since then, is probably the biggest of the Liang Zhu era ever to have been found in China. During the excavation, 85 ancient Liang Zhu graves, covering an area of about 2,000 square meters, have been unearthed in the area. Experts say that the 900 kinds of relics buried in the grave group represent the highest level of social status and craftsmanship for the Liang Zhu Culture.
According to carbon 14 test, Liang Zhu Culture dates back to 3,300 to 2,250 BC. Liang Zhu Culture is a kind of Culture of New Stone Age. It was first discovered in 1936 at Liang Zhu Town, Yuhang, Zhejiang Province.
Nanbei Lake 南北湖
Located some 80 kilometers east of Hangzhou, the Nanbei Lake in Haiyuan County offers the visitor a tranquil spot away from the frenzy of West Lake. The lake is divided into southern and northern sections by a causeway. Though smaller than West Lake, Nanbei Lake was originally a lagoon adjoining the Qiantang River. With an area of 122 hectares, the lake has been a local attraction since the Song Dynasty, when it was known as “the Mini West Lake 小西湖” There is a collection of gardens, bridges and pavilions scattered around the lake. Most of these attractions are built or recovered recently. Away from big cities and encircled by rolling green mountains, the lake is a truly idyllic setting.
The Nanbei Lake Scenic Area is far more than just a lake. With an area of some 30 square kilometers, the scenic area includes the green hills surrounding the lake and the nearby beach on Hangzhou Bay. On a slope a local businessman built facing the lake, a traditional house, named “Zaiqing Villa,” in 1916. Kim Koo (1875-1949), a political leader in the Korean independence movement, once took refuges here. During his exile in China in the period 1919 to 1945, the Korean nationalist, made friends with the businessman’s niece in Shanghai. After he organized a heroic campaign against the Japanese in Shanghai, Kim made his retreat to the villa and stayed there for half a year. The original structure was destroyed during the “cultural revolution” (1966-1976). The villa was restored in 1995 to commemorate this friend of China, who had such a command of Chinese that his Chinese wife believed him to be Cantonese instead of Korean. The villa is a tranquil and elegant structure. All three of the rooms are decorated with traditional Chinese furniture and have windows facing the lake.
The Thousand-Islet Lake 千岛湖
Well known for its pristine water and picturesque scenery, the Thousand-Islet Lake, composed of 1,078 islands, has long been a popular tourist attraction. Forest covers nearly 93 per cent of the lake area, which is home to more than 1,800 varieties of plants and 2,100 wild animals. With an average depth of 34 meters, its water transparency reaches 7 to 12 meters. In the past years, the local government has spared no efforts in protecting the lake and its surrounding area. More emphasis will be put on developing eco-agriculture and tourism in the coming years.
In early 2002, two ancient towns, both more than 1,800 years old, were discovered under the Thousand-Islet Lake. After a preliminary investigation, experts believed they might be the biggest ancient buildings ever found in perfect condition in China. Located near the Xin’an River, Chun’an and Sui’an started as counties in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). The two towns were inundated 40 years ago to make way for a reservoir. Historical records show that the two towns adopted architectural styles using bricks, wood, stones and tiles. S dozen trial dives led to the discovery of the town of Sui’an An underwater camera has recorded the whole process of finding the ancient complex. According to the tape, the 3-meter high ancient town wall is 30 meters under water. Nails and doorknockers are visible on the wall gate. A house stands perfectly though algae 水藻 had covered its walls and wooden window frames. Inside, the wooden staircase and furniture is still present and the fine wood engravings indicate the former prosperity of the town.
Yandang (Wild Goose and Reed Marsh) Mountains 雁荡山
The Yandang Mountains in Leqing, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, have attracted the tourist for centuries with their dramatic peaks, glamorous caves, strange rocks and fantastic waterfalls. Noted for their natural beauty, the Yandang Mountains have some peaks towering from the ground into the clouds, and reputed as Number One Mountain in southeast China. Other points of interest offer different images when looked at from different angles. The bizarre-shaped rocks are even more fascinating at twilight o under moonlight. The wonderful waterfalls tumble down their sides from sheer cliffs scores of meters high. The caves are either bright and spacious as palace halls or twisted and intricating as if they were a labyrinth. One of several hundred scenic spots in the area, the Lake at Yanhugang (Wild Goose and Lake Hillock), the main peak with an elevation of 1,046 meters, gives the place its name by attracting wild geese there in autumn with its reeds and grass. Encompassing 400 square kilometers, the Yandang Mountians are divided into five scenic zones with Lingfeng 灵峰（Spirit’s Peak）, Lingyan 灵岩 (Spirit’s Crag), Dalongqiu 大龙湫 (Great Dragon Pool), Yanhu 雁湖 (Wild Goose Lake), Xianshengmen 显圣门 (Holy Manifestation Gate), of which, Lingfeng, Lingyan and Dalongqiu are the ultimate beauties in the southeast Yandang Scenery 雁荡风景三绝.
Many poets and scholars and painters have recorded the beauty of the Yandang Mountains, which serve as a tourist center and summer resort since the Tang Dynasty.
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