West Lake: Where beauty and legends merge

Among dozens of lakes that are named "west lake" in China, the most famous one is the West Lake in Hangzhou City, the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

The city was dubbed by Marco Polo in the 13th century as the "most beautiful and elegant city in the world." And it is known as the "paradise of the world" in China.

Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the West Lake is divided by three causeways into five smaller lakes, covering over six square kilometers. The average depth is 2.27 meters, and the deepest point is five meters.

Thousands of years ago, the West Lake was connected to the sea. Sediment deposited by the river eventually blocked the connection between the West Lake and the sea, making it an inland water feature.

Since ancient times, the beautiful scenery of the West Lake in all seasons has been described again and again in poems, stories and legends. It's roughly estimated there are over 600 legends of the lake. Among them, the famous folklore "Butterfly Lovers" took place in an academy by the West Lake.

The lake area is home to thousands of plant species. About 100 of them are under the first- or second-class state protection. And due to the improving ecological conditions, mallards and halcyons are among the most frequent animals in the lake.

West Lake was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011.

(Cover image is still from video.)

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