China Insight Series - Hangzhou (杭州)

The Insight Series for 2014 continues! This series focuses on the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China as defined by the China Ancient Capital Society.

These capitals include the cities of Luoyang, Xi'an, Beijing, Kaifeng, Nanjing, Anyang, Zhengzhou and Hangzhou. Each of these cities has served as the Capital between 216 and 1,309 for various governments in China. 

Hangzhou (杭州)

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province and its political, economic and cultural center. With enchanting natural beauty and abundant cultural heritages, the city is known as 'Heaven on Earth' and one of China's most important tourist venues. The City, the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, is located on the lower reaches of the Qiantang River in southeast China, a superior position in the Yangtze Delta and only 180 kilometers from Shanghai. It has a subtropical monsoon type climate with four quite distinct seasons. However, it is neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter making it a year round destination.
The West Lake 

The West Lake is undoubtedly the most renowned feature of the city, noted for the scenic beauty that blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. In this scenic area, Solitary Hill, the Tomb of General Yue Fei, the Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Ling Yin Temple are probably the most frequently visited attractions. The "Ten West Lake Prospects" have been specially selected to give the visitor outstanding views of the lake, mountains and monuments. A number of national museums can be found in the city and are representative of Chinese culture. Fine examples are the National Silk Museum and National Tea Museum. Along with the other museums in the region, they provide a fascinating insight into the history of Chinese traditional products.
National Silk Museum 

While much of the ancient city that had been the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion in the mid-nineteenth century, today's Hangzhou is a modern and vibrant economical center. As such it provides a base for many talented and skilled people. Never the less, thanks to its unique setting by the West Lake it continues to enjoy the many benefits of the natural surroundings that have delighted visitors for centuries. Not only was it much vaunted in his writings by the 13 century explorer, Marco Polo but the Lake and its environs have inspired poets of great renown such as Bai Juyi and Su Dongpo down the ages. There can be no doubt that visit here is certain to be a memorable one.

Confucian Saying Of The Month

子曰:"中人以上,可以语上也!中人以下,不可语上也。"

Zǐ yuē: "Zhōng rén yǐshàng, kěyǐ yù shàng yě! Zhōng rén yǐxià, bùkě yù shàng yě."

The Master said, "To men who are above average, one may speak of higher things;
but to those below average, one may not!"

Chinese Character Of The Month

yǔ/yù

language, speech, tell

This Chinese character is a phonogram. The left part means words or to speak. The right part is a character pronounced as wú, which is regarded as close pronunciation to yǔ. The character has two pronunciations. When it is used as a noun, the pronunciation is yǔ, meaning language, speech; as a verb, it is pronounced as yù, meaning to tell, to speak. But the latter is mainly used in ancient Chinese.

汉语 hànyǔ – Chinese

英语 yīngyǔ – English

手语 shǒuyǔ — Sign language

语录 yǔlù — Recorded utterance, quotation

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