#14: 杭州西湖

2009/08/03 Comments Off on #14: 杭州西湖
杭州西湖

杭州,被称为“人间天堂”,是中国最美丽的城市之一。而它的美丽,离不开它的水——杭州西湖。今天,我就带大家领略西湖之美。

传说,天上有一条玉龙和一只金凤,它们在银河找到一块美丽的玉石,于是一起雕琢。多年以后,玉石变成了一颗璀璨的明珠。明珠的光照到哪里,哪里的树木就变绿,花儿就开放。可是,天上的王母很贪心,派人偷走了明珠。玉龙和金凤来到天宫,和王母争夺明珠。一不小心,明珠从天上掉下来,落到地上,立刻变成了美丽的西湖。这就是西湖起源的传说。

西湖在杭州市的西边,所以叫做西湖。它是中国十大风景名胜之一,是国家5A级旅游景点。西湖很大,有6.5平方公里,绕着它慢慢走一圈需要花掉一天的时间。西湖的水是碧绿的,湖水反映着岸边的树和远处的山。水上有石桥和亭子,还有大大小小的游船。最惬意的,就是在西湖岸边的林荫道散步,走累了,可以坐在长凳上休息,听听湖水的声音。西湖周围有很多花鸟虫鱼,所以在不同的季节,西湖有不同的景色。夏天的荷花无疑是最吸引人的;秋天的西湖,空气里飘着桂花香。西湖的水里游着名贵的鱼儿;水面飞着洁白的鸽子;有一年冬天,我在西湖旁看见了一只孔雀,它向我展示了美丽的羽毛!每隔几年,杭州人就投票,评选出西湖最美的十个景点,叫做“西湖十景”,它们都有好听的名字,比如:苏堤春晓、断桥残雪、三潭印月、柳浪闻莺……人民币一元纸币的背面就是三潭印月。

西湖的人文景观很丰富。因为自古以来,杭州就是江南的文化中心,而且它也曾经是几个王朝的首都。所以,贵族和文人在这里留下了很多宝贵的遗产。西湖周围有很多佛教寺庙,如:灵隐寺、净慈寺等等。山上还有两座宝塔,一座叫雷峰塔,另一座叫做保俶塔。雷峰塔值得进去一看。里面有很多精美的艺术作品,站在塔顶还可以俯瞰整个西湖。南宋著名诗人苏轼有一句诗“欲把西湖比西子,淡妆浓抹总相宜”。在他的眼里,西湖就是一位美女,无论怎么打扮都好看。苏轼曾经管理过西湖,建造了著名的苏堤,而“苏堤春晓”就是西湖十景中最著名的一景。另外,诗人杨万里也有一句诗“接天莲叶无穷碧,映日荷花别样红”。这些美丽的诗句,读过小学的人都会背。关于西湖的传说,除了开头提到的《明珠西湖》,还有《白蛇传》、《梁山伯与祝英台》等等。这些传说都是中国人耳熟能详的、最最经典的传说。

最后,再说一件我觉得值得一说的事:西湖三面环山,另一面则是杭州市区。为了保护西湖的天际线,杭州制定法律,限制高楼的建造。当地政府还决定,把西湖周围的房屋统一美化、清洁。这一点让我很欣赏。因为,中国城市的发展太快,以至于经常破坏自然景观。现在人们应该开始补救了,而杭州走在了前面。

西湖的魅力是无穷的,我只能描述一小部分,更多的东西需要你自己去发现。

Slow Chinese 14
Xihu
The city of Hangzhou, reputed to be a heaven on earth, is one of China’s most beautiful cities. Its beauty cannot be separated from its water, Hangzhou Xihu (‘West Lake’). Today I will give everyone a taste of Xihu’s beauty.

Legend says that a jade dragon and golden phoenix from the heavens discovered a beautiful precious stone in the galaxy, which together they sculpted. After some years, the stone turned into a resplendent jewel. Wherever the jewels brightness shone down, the trees turned green and the flowers bloomed. But Goddess wangmu, the Queen mother of the West, became covetous, and she dispatched someone to steal the jewel. The jade dragon and the golden phoenix arrived at the Temple in Heaven to fight for the jewel. In a moment of carelessness, the jewel fell down from the heavens, coming to rest on earth, whereupon it instantly transformed into Xihu. This is the origin of Xihu’s legend.

Xihu is situated to the west of Hangzhou city. It is one of China’s ten renowned scenic spots, designated 5A among the nation’s tourist attractions. At 6.5 square kilometers Xihu is very large, one slow circuit of it requiring almost a whole day. Xihu’s water is dark green and reflects the shores’ trees and distant mountains. There is a stone bridge and pavilions as well as large and small travel boats. Most satisfying of all, if you are tired from walking the shoreline’s boulevards you can rest on a bench and listen to the sound of the lake water. Along its surroundings are many flowers, birds, insects and fish. In the different seasons, Xihu has different scenery. Undoubtedly, in summer the lotus attracts people most; in autumn laurels float in the air. There are rare fish in Xihu’s waters; pure white doves float above the surface of the water, and in winter I go to see the peacocks by the lake, showing me their beautiful plumage. Every few years, Hangzhou’s people vote to pick out Xihu’s ten most beautiful scenic spots, called Xihu’s Ten Scenes. They all have pretty names, such as sudichunxiao, Basil Bank Spring Dawn; duanqiaocanxue, Broken Bridge Tarnished Snow; santanyinyue, Three Pool Engraved Moon; and liulangwenying, Willow Wave Fragrant Oriole. Broken Bridge Tarnished Snow features on the reverse side of the 1 yuan note.

Xihu is filled with places of cultural interest. This is because Hangzhou has been Jiangnan’s center of culture since ancient times, and was once the capital of several Wang dynasties. Thus, noblemen and scholars have left behind a store of valuable heritage. There are many Buddhist temples in the vicinity of Xihu, such as Lingyin Temple, Jingci Temple, etc. There are two pagodas on the mountain, one called Leifeng Pagoda and the other called Baochu Pagoda. Leifeng Pagoda is worth entering for a look around. There are a lot of fine works of art inside. Standing on its roof, you overlook the whole of Xihu. Famous poet of the Southern Song Dynasty Su Shi wrote, “It is always appropriate to desire Xihu over Xizi [one of the four legendary beauties], however they be attired.” In Su Shi’s mind, Xihu was as a beautiful woman, and appeared wonderful regardless of its look. Su Shi had formerly maintained Xihu, constructing the famous Sudi. Also, the poet Yang Wanli has the line, “Boundlessly green, the lotus leaves connect with heaven; her flowers red in the sunlit glow.” This beautiful verse is read and memorized by young students. With regard to the legend of Xihu, apart from The Xihu Jewel story mentioned at the outset, there is also The Tale of the White Snake, and the tale of the lovers, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. These frequently repeated legends are amongst China’s foremost classics.

Finally, one thing I think is worth pointing out is that on three sides of Xihu are mountains, whilst on the other side is a view of Hangzhou city. In order to protect the horizons of Xihu, Hangzhou has formulated laws restricting the construction of tall buildings. Xihu’s local government has also decided that Xihu’s surrounding houses must be compatibly beautified and clean. I really appreciate this, because China’s cities have often developed with speed to the point where the natural landscape is destroyed. Now people should start to remedy this, with Hangzhou leading the way. Xihu’s beauty is boundless. I can only describe a small part of it. To discover the rest, you must go yourself.

Neil Armstrong (nbarmstrong123@gmail.com)