A lake brimming with culture

Updated: 2016-09-07 08:03

By Xu Lin(China Daily)

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A lake brimming with culture

Traditional architecture at Hangzhou Oriental Culture Garden. [Photo by Xu Lin/China Daily]

The garden will host a Xi Shi stage show with an actual mountain and river as the background in November.

Its namesake protagonist-one of the "four beauties" of Chinese history-was given as tribute to the king of Wu by the newly subjugated Yue kingdom in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The goal was to distract him from state affairs so Yue could rise up and reclaim independence. It worked.

"It's about love, kinship and the pursuit of peace," chief planner and screenwriter Xie Guoquan says.

"The plot integrates folk culture with natural scenery to touch audiences."

The show features about 300 performers.

Special effects endow objects with human emotions, he says.

For instance, snowflakes fall and trees turn white when Xi Shi's parents escort her to the Wu palace.

Mother Nature uses natural effects to change the entire lake area's scenery throughout the year in ways that have inspired visiting poets to pen prose.

The water body is ringed by a roughly 15-kilometer cycling lane with bike rental and resting places. Two stone pathways curl up the surrounding mountains.

A total of 108 bridges of different styles and from different eras showcase the history of local architecture. (Some are original and others are replicas.)

The lake itself was recently restored to its original gourd shape and expanded to the 6-sq-km size of ancient times.

Xianghu Lake Tourism Resort Working Committee head Han Changlai says: "We hope to attract visitors to enjoy the culture, natural landscapes and good air."

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