North of Mid-lake Pavilion lies a green islet called Ruan Gong Islet, the smallest of the three man-made islets in West lake. It’s known for its unique scenery “Ruan Gong Islet Submerged in Greenery (阮墩环碧)” , one of the “New Top Ten scenes of West Lake”.
The islet was originally constructed using lake-bottom silt. It was built during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 AD) at the order of Zhejiang’s Provincial Governor Ruan Yuan (阮元). The islet was, therefore, named as “Ruan Gong Islet” to commemorate him.
Since the silt on the islet was too soft to support buildings, it remained a wildlife refuge for many years. Recently, in 1982, in order to create a new tourist attraction, the 5,667-square-meter area was topped with over 1,000 tons of earth providing a stable foundation for future construction projects. Some bamboo halls and pavilions and even a paved road which encircled the islet were initially constructed. Meanwhile, more than 600 flowers and shrubs were also planted. Following that, a fishing terrace was opened to the public. In 1984 the around-the-lake village was set up as a venue for gala nights featuring ancient Chinese celebrations. This island appears unique yet natural, offset by the complex of bamboo constructed buildings, linked to each other by stone paths. All these create an intoxicating serenity and remoteness from the bustling world outside.
Source: New Greater Hangzhou: A New Guide by George Chen