Dongqian Lake, a state-level 3A tourist attraction, is situated in southeastern Ningbo and 15 kilometers off the heart of the city. The site covers a planned area of 234 square kilometers and enjoys a loud reputation for an intoxicating blend of its picturesque mountains and clear waters with rich cultural heritages. This is a multi-functional retreat incorpoarating tourist destinations, recreational spots, vacationing and entertainment.
The lake is known as the largest natural fresh-water lake in Zhejiang. Its water area occupies 19.89 square kilometers, four times that of the West Lake in Hangzhou. A vestige of a sea during the geological age, the lake is now 6.5 kilometers wide, 8.5 kilometers long and 45 kilometers in girth. According to historical records, the lake emerged during the Jin Dynasty and was re-canalled in 744 AD during the Tang Dynasty. Thus it is more than 1200 years old now. Strenuous work of labourers in the subsequent dynasties finally turned Dongqian Lake into a first-rate reservoir and irrigation source, particularly renovations and expansions during the Tang and Song Dynasties under the direction of three consecutive county governors of Lu Jinnan, Li Yigeng and Wang Anshi. The lake has long since guaranteed good crops under all types of weather and transformed the whole region into "a fertile land of fish and rice". Later local people built "Temple of Reverends Lu and Li" and "Temple of Wang Anshi" by the lake, as a dedication to these governors' outstanding contributions to the lake.
The major places of interest in at the lake are:
The Hanling Street: a thousand-year-old village used to be known as Hanling City.
The Museum Stone Carvings of the South Song Dynasty: the museum exhibits collections of stone sculptured images for tomb passages during the South Song Dynasty and some 120 rare stone crafts carved during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Si Jian Tomb Passage: the passage to Shi Jian's tomb. Shi Jian was granted the title Rev. Qi and commissioned the highest officer of the military of the Song Dynasty.
Reverend Tao's Island: the island is named after Fan Li, also known as Reverend Tao. Fan Li was a minister of the Yue Kingdom during the Spring and Autumn Period.
Central Lake Area: the 1800 metre-long dyke in the center of the lake that connects the Dual-Soul Hill in the east with the Peninsula of Reverend Tao in the west.
Butuo Cave: also known as the Cave of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, it is a grotto constructed during the South Song Dynasty.
King Yue's Temple: built in 1234 AD during the South Song Dynasty, the temple is in memory of Yue Fei, a prestigious national hero.
Suggested Visitor's Itinerary: Dongqian Lake Wild Animal Zoo--Hanling Street--South Song Stone Carvings Museum--Reverend Tao's Garden--Central Lake Area--Faithful Family Temple--Boating in the Lake--Waterfront Reeds--Celebrity Cultural Site
(Written by Xin Jiliang, Wang Hongfu)