SPRING BLOCK I - Hangzhou
Marco Polo described the city of Hangzhou as “the most splendid city in the world.” This is likely due to the city’s stunning natural environment, which is distinguished by the beautiful West Lake, set along rolling hills marked with pagodas and tea terraces. Hangzhou’s striking landscape has inspired works by renowned artists for millennia, including poet Su Shi, who is said to have employed 200,000 people in 1089 to build the Su Causeway across West Lake. Historically the city drew early success due to its silk, parasol, scissor and tea trades and its advantageous position for shipping in the Yangtze River Delta. Hangzhou’s prosperity continues in diverse sectors today, such as light industry, agriculture, and textiles. It is the home to 72 of the world’s billionaires as well as several cutting-edge internet companies like Alibaba, Ant Financial, Kuaidi Dache and Mogujie. Over 700 startups make up Hangzhou’s “Dream Town” district while Hangzhou’s Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone (HHTZ) is the self-proclaimed “Silicon Valley” of China. The HHTZ hosts 1,100 software developing companies, including the research centers for Motorola, Nokia and Siemens.
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Ling Yin Temple, located on the west bank of the famous West Lake in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, is one of the most popular scenic spots in Hangzhou. It was first built in AD326 at Eastern Jin Dynasty and boasts a history of over 1600 years. When an Indian monk named Huili came to Hangzhou and saw how beautiful the peak was, he thought it must be the place for supernatural beings, so he built a temple here called Ling Yin Temple. Ling Yin Temple has undergone several renovations, and at its largest had 9 buildings, 18 pavilions, 72 halls with 1300 rooms, and more than 3000 monks.
Of all the legends about the West Lake, the most touching one is the love story between Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian. Bai Suzhen was a white snake spirit and Xu Xian was a mortal man. They fell in love with each other at first sight, and got married very soon after. But the evil monk Fa Hai attempted to separate the couple by imprisoning Xu Xian. Bai Suzhen fought against Fa Hai and tried her best to rescue her husband. But she failed and was imprisoned under the Leifeng Pagoda by the lake. Years later the couple was rescued by Xiao Qing, the sister of Baisuzhen. From then on, Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian lived together happily. Because of this moving story, the West Lake has become a popular spot to date.