"Hangzhou, which is surrounded by water, has 12,000 stone bridges. It is the most beautiful and luxurious city in the world." These are the words that Marco Polo wrote while traveling in Hangzhou. More than 700 years ago, there were already so many bridges in Hangzhou! The history, shape, and origin of these bridges are different, and each bridge has its own story behind it.
The Broken Bridge 断桥
The name of the Broken Bridge was given during the Tang Dynasty. There are different explanations regarding the origin of its name. One explanation goes that the road of the Solitary Hill ends here, hence the name, broken; and the other explanation says that its original name of Duanjia Bridge is shortened to Duan Bridge, whose homophonic is the Broken Bridge. Legend has it that the hero and heroine of “Legend of the White Snake”, Xu Xian, and the White Snake formed an eternal relationship on this bridge, which gives it a romantic meaning and makes it one of the three lovers' bridges in West Lake.
The Broken Bridge is prestigious among the bridges of various sizes in West Lake. The bridge is the most appealing in winter days with lingering snow on the bridge and the view of "Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge" was ranked among “Top Ten Views of the West Lake”. Every time after snow, people flock to enjoy the snow scene of the West Lake that the Solitary Hill and the Inner West Lake are covered in snow, particularly beautiful.
The Gongchen Bridge was built in the fourth year of Chongzhen’s reign of the Ming Dynasty. After several years of destruction and reconstruction, it is now the largest stone arch bridge in the urban area of Hangzhou. The Gongchen Bridge connects the two areas separated by the canal: in the east of the bridge, the modern buildings towering high in the east of the bridge show the rapid development of Hangzhou over the years; in the west of the bridge, the preserved modern industrial plants, the many residential buildings, and the museum complex about knife, sword, fan and umbrella tell the historical stories of the old Grand Canal covered in the dust of time.
Kuahu Bridge 跨湖桥
The Kuahu (cross-lake) Bridge was built in the 33rd year of Jiajing’s reign of the Ming Dynasty. It is located at the narrow part of Xianghu Lake, which is in the shape of a gourd. Whether it is when the autumn moon hanging in the sky or when the summer flowers are blooming, the Kuahu Bridge gives people a wonderful enjoyment of nature with stunning beauty.
"Kuahu Culture" is another Neolithic culture in Zhejiang Province after "Hemudu Culture", "Majiabang Culture" and "Liangzhu Culture". It has moved the history of Zhejiang civilization forward by 1,000 years. It fully demonstrates the long history and rich cultural heritage of Hangzhou and even Zhejiang.
Here, rowing a boat on the lake, all you see are beautiful views; You can also go through the bridge opening and head to Huxin Island to visit Kuahuqiao Site Museum to explore the Kuahu Bridge in the Neolithic period, the grain dated back to thousands of years ago, all kinds of unique pottery, and the ancient canoe called "China's First Boat"...
Guangji Bridge 广济桥
The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal passes through the ancient town of Tangxi, and the only seven-hole stone arch bridge, Guangji Bridge, is here. The ancient town of Tangxi was formed in the Northern Song Dynasty. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the town was the richest in the area and was ranked first among the “Ten Famous Towns in the Jiangnan Region” and now the famous attractions, historical sites, cultural accumulation, and rich products here attract countless people to come. Stepping up the bridge, it feels like climbing a mountain and when you get to the top of the bridge, you can get a panoramic view of the whole town.
Qiantang River Bridge钱塘江大桥
The Qiantang River Bridge, also known as the Qianjiang First Bridge, was designed by Chinese bridge expert Mao Yisheng. It is the first double-layer railway and highway dual-use bridge designed and built by China. After several destructions and repairs during the war years, it is still quietly standing over the Qiantang River to connect the two banks.
The Qiantang River Bridge is located in the south of the West Lake, next to the Pagoda of Six Harmonies. Ascending the pagoda and looking out from the windows, you can see the bridge spanning the Qiantang River. Placing yourself in the ancient wooden pagoda and overlooking the modern steel bridge in the distance makes people lose track of time suddenly.