Hangzhou has long been a famous
tourist attraction. The widely expressed Chinese
saying-In Heaven there is Paradise and on Earth
there are Hangzhou and Suzhou-and the words of
Marco Polo who described this place as "the
most beautiful and magnificent city in the world"
have both helped to make Hangzhou one of the most
visited cities in the entire country.
The history of Hangzhou spanned back
over 2000 years. It played an important role as
the southern end of the Grand Canal, which originally
went all the way across the mighty land to Beijing
and linked up the major trading centers alongside.
Hangzhou became one of the capitals of the Song
Dynasty when the imperial family moved here in
the 12th century. It's now the capital of Zhejiang
Province with a population of 6.1 million.
The West Lake is a huge circular fresh
water lake covering 3 km north-south and 3 km
east-west and is surrounded by hills on three
sides with the city on the fourth. Two causeways
cross the lake and three islands in stay in the
middle. There are numerous historical relics and
sights around the lake, including the famous Buddhist