West Lake - History


The earliest name for West Lake was "Wulin Water" (武林水). In the Book of Han, the "Geography Column" section says, "Qiantang, affiliated to west governor general. Wulin mountain is the origin of Wulin water. Runs east into the sea, covering 830 Chinese miles." Its former names include "Qian Water", "Qiantang Lake", "Mingsheng Lake", "Jinniu Lake", "Shihan Lake", "Shang Lake", "Lianyan Lake", "Fangsheng Pond", "Xizi Lake", "Gaoshi Lake", "Xiling Lake", "Meiren Lake", "Xianzhe Lake", "Mingyue Lake", and etc. But only two names were widely accepted in history and recorded in historical documents. One is "Qiantang Lake", due to the fact that Hangzhou was called "Qiantang" in ancient times. The other name is "West Lake", due to the lake being west of the city. The name "West Lake" first appeared in two poems of Bai Juyi, "Bestowed on guests as returning from West Lake in the evening and looking back to Gushan Temple" (西湖晚歸回望孤山寺贈諸客) and "On the returning boat to Hangzhou" (杭州回舫). Since North Song Dynasty, most poems and articles of scholars used the name "West Lake", while the name "Qiantang Lake" was gradually deprecated. "The request of dredging West Lake" written by Su Shi was the first time that "West Lake" appeared in an official document.

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