Solitary Hill (Gu Shan)

Admission:

Free

Hours:

24 Hours

How to get there:

From the northwestern corner of West Lake, take the Bai Causeway (白堤 Bái Dī) from the east or cross the Xiling Bridge (Xīlíng Qiáo, 西泠桥) from the west off of Běishān Lù (北山路) opposite the Hangzhou Shangri-La (Hángzhōu Xiānggélǐlā Fàndiàn, 杭州香格里拉饭店). You can also take a boat across West Lake and go on shore at Zhongshan Park (中山公园 Zhōngshān Gōngyuán).

Solitary Hill (Gū Shān, 孤山), or Solitary Island, sits in the northwest corner of West Lake (Xi Hu), linked to the mainland by the Bai Causeway (Bái Dī, 白堤). The largest island on the lake and a lovely place to wander and explore, Solitary Hill affords visitors fine lake views and a number of significant attractions. For anyone interested in Chinese history, symbolism or legend, the island is crowded with fascinating monuments and sites. For those simply after a pleasant day outdoors amidst beautiful scenery, Solitary Hill fits the bill nicely.

On the north side of the island are Wenlan Pavilion (Wénlán Gé, 文澜阁), Zhongshan Park (中山公园 Zhōngshān Gōngyuán) and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum (Zhèjiāngshěng Bówùguǎn, 浙江省博物馆), housed in part of an old imperial palace. On the west side the Xiling Seal Society sits atop a scenic hill. The Tomb of Qiu Jin (Qiū Jǐn Mù, 秋瑾墓), a female anti-Qing revolutionary and writer, is at the foot of the hill. Qiu Jin was an early pro-democracy campaigner and part of Sun Yatsen's team of nationalist fighters in the 1900s. Another tomb of interest is that of noted tiger killer and hero of the classic novel Water Margin (Shuǐhǔ Zhuàn, 水浒传), Wu Song (Wǔ Sōng Mù, 武松墓). A third tomb belongs to Su Xiao Xiao (苏小小墓 Sū Xiǎoxiǎo Mù), a famous 5th century courtesan and poet who died tragically at 19. Her tomb was destroyed by overzealous Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, but was restored in 2004.

A small pavilion known as Fànghè Tíng (放鹤亭, loosely translated as "Ascending Crane Pavilion") sits on the northeast end of the island in memory of the reclusive Song Dynasty poet Lin Hejin, who reputedly insisted that the he was married to the blossoms on the trees and that the crane was his son.

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