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The Moon Lake
2018-12-07 17:21 Text Size: A A A

The Moon Lake, or the Yuehu Lake, is located in the southwest corner of Ningbo city, which used to be called “West Lake” by locals. It is only a hundred steps away from Ningbo Railway Station. It is long and narrow with an area of 0.2 square kilometers. Its shape is randomly tortuous; the round places are like full moons while the curved places are like crescents. In the past there was a lake not far from east of the north lake called “Sun Lake (Rihu Lake)”. The names Ri (sun) and Yue (moon) of the two lakes are the result of decomposition of the Chinese character “Ming” in Mingzhou. Now the Sun Lake is gone, only the Moon Lake survives. The Moon Lake was dug by magistrate of Mao county Wang Junzhao in 636. In 1093, the chief of Mingzhou Prefecture Liu Shu organized large force to dredge the lake, plant pine trees and willows around the lake, and fill in earth to separate the lake into ten islets. During Shaoxing Period of the Southern Song Dynasty (1131-1162), prefecture chief Liu Cheng built pavilions, terraces and open halls, and planted flowers of all seasons on the islets, forming up excellent views of the ten islets: the east three islets are “Chrysanthemum Islet”, “Moon Island” and “Bamboo Islet”; the west three are “Lotus Islet”, “Snow Islet” and “Fume Islet”; the center four are “Fragrant Grass Islet”, “Willow Islet”, “Flower Islet” and “Bamboo Islet”. Then three dikes and seven bridges were built in Jiaoyou Period of the Song Dynasty and Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty: Yanyue (crescent moon) Dike on the north of the lake, Guangsheng Dike in the center and Taohua (peach blossom) Dike on the South; the seven bridges are Mid-lake West Bridge between Flower Islet and Fume Islet, Mid-lake East Bridge between Flower Islet and Moon Island, Chongchong West Bridge between Willow Islet and Fume Islet, Chongchong East Bridge between Willow Islet and Chrysanthemum Islet, Rainbow Bridge between Snow Islet and Lotus Islet, Gunxiu Bridge between Lotus Islet and the north bank of the lake, and Siming Bridge between Chrysanthemum Islet and the north bank, part of which now have been rebuilt and turned to be roads.

The Moon Lake was a gathering place for the literati in history. It’s told that the famous poet of the Tang Dynasty He Zhizhang (659-744) once lived by the Moon Lake for some time after he resigned from office. He called himself “wild fellow of Siming”. People respected him for his brilliant talent, and now there is still a “He Mi Jian Ci (Memorial Hall of He Zhizhang)”. When Wang Anshi(imperially titled as Lord Jingguo) served as the county governor of Yin County in the Song Dynasty, he built “West Pavilion” on the west bank, which was called by the folks “the Reading Platform of Revered Lord Jingguo” (now collapsed). In the Southern Song Dynasty, Shi Hao, chancellor of two reign periods, once built a “Zhenyin Lodge” (Real Hermit Lodge) on the Bamboo Islet, and Emperor Xiaozong of the Song Dynasty presented him his own inscription “Si Ming Dong Tian” as gift. Many renowned scholars at that time lectured here. Later on, the famous historian of the Qing Dynasty Quan Zuwang (1705-1755) built up an “Academy of Three Mentors on Bamboo Islet”. So the atmosphere of learning never waned for hundreds of years.

The Moon Lake to Ningbo is like the West Lake to Hangzhou. Since the Tang and Song Dynasties, it has been a flourishing place in the city. It is recorded in local annals that “the sceneries in different seasons are different, and the ladies come to visit mostly in spring and summer when their carriages form shades and the reflections of sightseeing boats ripple on the lake, the days are never whiled away.”

Since the founding of People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Moon Lake has been dredged many times. Trees and flowers are planted around the lake, pavilions, terraces and halls have been built, making the lake even more charming. When strolling along the bank or boating in the lake, you will feel you are walking in a landscape painting.

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