The Grand Canal Overflows with Antique Charm
The Grand Canal is the pride of both China and Hangzhou - the latter being its most southern point. History has filled this over-100-year old canal and made it overflow with antique charm but has also, over the years, witnessed the gradual development of Hangzhou into a modern metropolis. In spite of these modern developments, the Grand Canal, still manages to keep afloat with the old life style, culture and historical elements which grace its glorious banks.
When speaking of Hangzhou's temples, most would mention Lingyin but besides this ancient masterpiece there is also Xiangji Temple, the most famous temple in Gongshu District. Compared with Lingyin Temple which is flooded with tourists, Xiangji Temple is mostly visited by locals. So if you wish to know Hangzhou and its Buddhist culture, in more serene surroundings, then Xiangji Temple should be at the top of your visiting list.
Ticket: 20 RMB per person, and 10 RMB for students showing ID card.
Dadou Road Historic Block
Dadou Road Historic Block, the most respected in the neighborhood, is 780 meters in length and 150 meters in width and stretches southwards from Daguan Road (大关路) to Jiangzhang Bridge (江涨桥) along the Grand Canal.
Dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) Dadou, once the center for Hangzhou's trade, is one of the few ancient blocks still narrating the history of old Hangzhou. Take a stroll along the block and you will witness a large number of late-Qing and early Ming-style constructions which is a leisurely way to learn about Hangzhou's past and its present people.
In addition, lined along the street are dozens of restaurants, of which many differ in style and serve dishes of different flavors. However what they do have in common is they all offer an excellent dining experience with the Grand Canal flowing on one side and the Ming and Qing Dynasty style architecture on the other.
Xiaohe Straight Street
Located at the intersection of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the Yuhangtang River, Xiaohe Straight Street is one of the most notable pedestrianized streets in Hangzhou.
Buildings in the street are uniquely constructed out of concrete and wood and all feature white walls, black tiles, wooden doors and windows. Due to its advantageous location, Xiaohe Straight Street has long been the distribution center of all kinds of commodities and the gathering place for various types of shops, restaurants and hotels as well as the epitome of daily life in Hangzhou's olden times.
Built in the 4th year of Chongzhen's (崇祯皇帝) reign in the Ming Dynasty (1631), Gongchen Bridge is a three-arch stone clad bridge that spans across the Beijing-Hangzhou Canal. In 1986 the bridge was included into the list of cultural relics under municipal protection by Hangzhou Municipal People's Government.
The bridge, which is still in daily use, is 92.1 m in length, 16 m in height and is the highest and longest stone arch ancient bridge in Hangzhou. In Chinese "Gong" literally means meeting and "Chen" refers to the place where emperors live. Hence, Gongchen Bridge was a symbol of welcome and respect for emperors. It is the end point of the Grand Canal as well as a transport hub in the Hangzhou Section of the Grand Canal.
According to foreign talents, Hangzhou’s charm grows day by day. Recently, the list of “2016 Charming China – The Most Attractive Chinese Cities for Foreigners” has been unveiled and Hangzhou has been included for the seventh time, ranking third after the famous financial center in the world, Shanghai and the capital, Beijing.