Capital of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou is a tourist city well known at home and abroad. It lieson the lower reaches of the Qiantang River and is the southern end of the l,794-kllometre-long Grand Canal (Beijing- Hangzhou Canal). With an area of 16,596 square kilometers inhabited by a population of 6.08 million, it embraces six urban districts and seven suburban counties, namely, Yuhang, Xiaoshan, Fuyang, Tonglu, Lin’an, Jiande and Chun’an.
Lying on the west edge of Hangzhou city, West Lake is the symbol of Hangzhou as well as one of the most beautiful sights in China. Early in the Song dynasty, the famous poet Su Shi compared the lake to Xizi, a Chinese Cleopatra: “Ripping water shimmering on sunny day; Misty mountains wonder in the rain; Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi; the West Lake is always alluring”. So the Lake is also known as Xizi Lake. With an area of 6 sq. km. and a circumference of 15km (9 miles), West Lake, surround in three sides by rolling wooded hills, has captivated countless visitors for centuries. The beauty of the West Lake lies in a lingering charm that survives the change of seasons in a year, of hours in a day, and of different weathers.
Located at the foot of the Lingyin Hill northwest of the city, Temple of Inspired Seclusion (Lingyin Temple) was built in the Eastern Jin dynasty (317-420). The 33.6-metre-high main hall (Sakyamuni Hall) is a masterpiece of ancient buildings with one story and doubled eaves. The two nine-storied octagonal pagodas in front of the main hall and the two stone towers containing the Buddhist sutras in front of the Lokapala Hall were all built in the Five dynasties (907-960). In the caves on the Feilai Hill, there are some 300 Buddhist stone carvings dating back to the Five dynasties, the Song dynasty (960-1279) and the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). The elegant stone carvings are of high artistic value