For the Chinese Hangzhou ranks with Guilin as the country's most famous tourist attraction. Famous for its natural scenery, Hangzhou and nearby West Lake (Xi Hu in Chinese) have been immortalized by countless poets and artists. The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1127 until the Mongol invasion of 1276, and in this time the city's population grew to 1.75 million inhabitants, making it the largest city in the world. When Marco Polo passed through it, he called it "beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world".
Nowadays Hangzhou is an elegant city lying in a beautiful setting. Along the west lake there are high end shops selling branded goods, expensive restaurants and a beautiful waterfront. The sights near Hangzhou (mostly temples and pagodas) are however less impressive, since they have been rebuilt recently after having been destroyed in the 20th century. In fact Hangzhou is overrated as a tourist destination. The air in Hangzhou is terribly polluted as in most of eastern China.
01 Gazebo 02 Stele with Chinese characters 03 Turtle stele 04 Statue of warrior 05 Yunlin Buddhist temple
06 Yunlin Buddhist temple 07 Praying candles 08 Golden Buddha statue 09 Pagoda roof 10 Pagoda roof
11 Lion stone carving 12 Stone carvings 13 Buddhist temple pagoda 14 Buddha statue 15 Round fountain
16 Buddha statue 17 Panorama view of valley 18 Panorama view of lake
19 Incense burner 01 Hangzhou airport 02 Airport departure hall 03 Hangzhou airport 04 Shopping area
01 Street in the evening 02 Hotel Hyatt 03 Hotel Hyatt 04 Waterfront promenade along lake 05 Illuminated pavilion 06 Illuminated pavilion
07 Baochu pagoda on Baoshi hill 08 Hangzhou skyline 09 Baochu pagoda and Hangzhou skyline
10 Hangzhou skyline 11 Baochu pagoda on Baoshi hill 12 Neon lights, shops and restaurants
13 Colourful musical fountain 14 Colourful musical fountain 15 Colourful musical fountain 16 Colourful musical fountain 17 Jiefang road
18 Jiefang road with neon lights 19 Jiefang road and Ferrari dealership 20 Illuminated shops on Nanshan road 21 Pavement and trees on Nanshan road 22 Pavement and trees on Nanshan road
23 Xi hu West lake 24 Xi hu West lake
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