Exploring Hangzhou's ancient past via Metro Line 5
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As a renowned tourist destination, Hangzhou features an abundance of scenic and cultural resources that are connected by the Metro. We will introduce attractions along 11 Metro lines and a well-rounded picture of the historical city.
Map of the Metro Line 5
Thoroughfares dotted with clothing stores and boutiques reflect a city's modern side. To explore history and folklore, hidden lanes in old blocks offer a much better portrait of a city's past.
Metro Line 5 might be the best choice for visitors interested in history and historical architecture. The line links ancient lanes and residential communities dating back to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), giving people a glimpse of the millennium-old city.
Hangzhou has many lanes, most of which are low-profile, narrow streets dominated by old residential buildings. People walking along these lanes are often enchanted by the classic Hangzhou-style communities and their white walls, black roofs and up-turned eaves.
Like Shanghai's longtang and Beijing's hutong, Hangzhou's lanes are expected to be the city's new calling card. Xiaoying Lane is a successful renovation of historical residences. Nearly 70 percent of the buildings in the lane are old dwellings, restored to their original appearance.
In addition, the lane features two historical sites worth a visit. Qian Xuesen (1911-2009), a scientist who made important contributions to China's missile and space programs, once lived in the lane, and his former residence retains its charm.
Meanwhile, The Palace of the Ting Prince of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-64) is also situated there. Buildings maintain their original appearance, characterized by up-turned eaves, carved beams and painted rafters. Today, it is a rest home for the elderly.
How to get there: Get off at Wan'an Bridge Station
These crisscrossed lanes are centered around the ruins of a Southern Song imperial ancestral temple, the former capital's center. They are made up of 23 lanes, flanked by traditional Hangzhou-style brick-and-wood residential structures.
Early in 2011, Hangzhou government sensed the importance of these old lanes and undertook a series of renovation projects to protect key sites. Now, these protected buildings are back to their traditional glory.
Some newly revamped houses have become hangouts for diners, the only places where certain authentic Hangzhou-style snacks can be found. Vendors erect roadside food stalls where they cook and sell their food. To native gastronomes, these snacks epitomize the city's true delicacies by virtue of the simplest food ingredients and cooking techniques.
As the political and academic center of the Southern Song Dynasty, these houses have a rich cultural heritage, including the ruins of Three Councils and Six Ministries, the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the Ziyang Academy.
Another Southern Song Dynasty residential block, Wuliu Lane, which literally means five willows in Chinese, is located on the east side of the 23 lanes. The block is named after Five Willow Imperial Palace, built during the dynasty. Though the royal building no longer exists, the lane has been preserved and listed as a key protected site.
How to get there: Get off at Jiangcheng Road Station
Wushan Hill and Wansong Academy
With traditional medicine shops, eateries selling local specialties and handicraft shops, Wushan Hill will likely be the liveliest spot in the city.
Ascending along a hill path, people arrive at Chenghuang Pavilion, considered the best spot to view the city's panorama. The pavilion is open at night, so it's worth checking out for sunsets and nighttime views.
Further along the hill path is Ruangong Pavilion, built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to commemorate Ruan Yuan, a poet, calligrapher and imperial official. The hill path ends in Sanmao Pavilion, a Taoist temple that was swarmed with devout believers during the Southern Song Dynasty.
In ancient times, Chinese schools hosted a series of etiquette classes to begin the new term. Wansong Academy has carried down the ritual for centuries to promote Chinese culture and tradition among youth.
In the story "The Butterfly Lovers," often described as China's "Romeo and Juliet," the two main characters, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, meet at the academy as classmates.
How to get there: Get off at Houchaomen Station