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The Broken Bridge and the Scene of the Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge

broken bridge
The Scene of the Broken Bridge

Walking down the Baoshi Hill and crossing a wide lakeside road with tall and old maple trees or willow trees standing on both sides, visitors get to a sidewalk also the edge of Interior Part of the West Lake, which is artificially meanwhile naturally divided by The Broken Bridge, The Bai Causeway, Xiling Bridge and The Solitary Hill from the main area of the West Lake, and also see a unique and traditional bridge extending on the West Lake. The lake part near to the bridge is full of the lotus. At the beginning site, there is a remarkable traditional pavilion, which is a resting place for visitors. It is decorated with a lot of valuable couplets, the easily rememberable couplet is"断桥桥不断,残雪雪未残"(The Broken Bridge is unbroken; The Lingering Snow is unlingering). In front of the pavilion, it is a large stone-made stele with the precious calligraphic inscriptions of Emperor Kangxi as well as Emperor Qianlong. The front side of the stele is not the real inscriptions of Emperors and the rear is the true of calligraphic handwritings. It is the sign of the scene titled The Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge. Four Large Chinese Characters are"断桥残雪"(The Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge) apart from the explanative inscriptions written aside. It is the beginning of the Broken Bridge.

the stele inscription of broken bridge
The stele of Broken Bridge with
Emperor Kangxi's inscription

The famous site of West Lake, the Broken Bridge is located on the east point of Bai Causeway(白堤) at present and the most renowned bridge among many bridges on or near to West Lake. It was said that The Broken Bridge was constructed in Tang Dynasty. Zhang Hu(张祜), a famous poet of Tang Dynasty began to use the noun of The Broken Bridge in his themed poem titled On Solitary Hill Temple of Hangzhou(题杭州孤山寺). In different season, the Broken Bridge has different scene. In other words, Broken Bridge has the eternal charm in all year around. Today’s Broken Bridge was reconstructed in 1914. This restored bridge is an arch-style and single-hole bridge. The length of the bridge is 8.8 meters and width is 8.6 meters. The diameter is 6.1 meters. Its classic and elegant beauty does never change although it was rebuilt.



The Name Origin of the Broken Bridge

The Old picture of broken bridge
The old picture of Broken Bridge

In Song Dynasty, the Broken Bridge was called Bao You Qiao(宝佑桥, literally means the Bridge of Treasure Blessing). As for the name history of the Broken Bridge, there are several different viewpoints. Someone said it is because the way of The Solitary Hill stops here. (In folk society, many people think the scene of Ping Hu Qiu Yue, or Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake, is the division of the Bai Causeway and The Broken Bridge. The way of the Solitary Hill is Bai Causeway), and it seems the bridge was broken by the way of The Solitary Hill. In this way, it is naturally called The Broken Bridge. Someone thinks the name was derived from Duan Jia Qiao(段家桥) or Duan Qiao for short, which is written in different Chinese characters from Broken Bridge but shares the same pronunciation with Broken Bridge. This naturally can be considered to be an origin of this bridge. Meanwhile, someone else shows their views in other aspect, that is, on the occasion that the heavy snow ceases, visitors have a bird’s eye view towards the southern side from top of Baoshi Hill and always see the Bai Causeway covered with snow looks like a long and vivid white chain crossing the West Lake. Under the sunshine, the snow of sun-reached side is quickly thawed and the brown surface of the bridge appears. Seen from afar, the former white chain seems to be broken, and in this way, it is called The Broken Bridge.



One of Top Ten Classic Scenes in West Lake Scenic Area---The Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge

the classic scene of broken bridge in snow
The classic scene of Broken Bridge
in snowing winter

West Lake is always charming in four seasons. The scene of The Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge is themed with the wintry beauty and charm of West Lake in snow. It is the epitome of snowy West Lake. This scene is an important site of humanity largely dotted with romantic love legends, classic prose and poems as well as the anecdotes of celebrities in different dynasties. To some degrees, it is also the brand name of West Lake Scenic Area to the whole public, because the elite tradition and culture are not easily understood and accepted but the story of Lady White and Xu Xian closely connected with The Broken Bridge is deeply remembered by them. Briefly, the Broken Bridge is the best place to appreciate the wintry landscape of West Lake as well as the humanity of West Lake. Besides, Hangzhou as a southeast city of China has a short snowing time in winter, and the snowfall of Hangzhou is absolutely not so heavy as it in northern China and it would be generally quickly thawed once falls to the ground. So this beauty available or not is not only dominated by the season but the winter weather condition of Hangzhou. However, it deserves spending time. Coming to China, it is the must to visit West Lake; Coming to West Lake, it is the must to enjoy the scene of The Lingering Snow on the Broken Bridge.



The Legends of the Broken Bridge History

As what mentioned above, the Broken Bridge was originally called Duan Jia Qiao. Long ago, the Bai Causeway extended here from the Solitary Hill, and there was just an unnamed wooden bridge connecting both sides. Visitors had to go via this bridge when they wanted to the Solitary Hill. But this bridge was gradually eroded and rotten after experiencing a long-time shining and raining, and it made visitors in trouble and danger. Nearby the bridge, there was a small hut where a couple with the surname Duan lived in. This couple was kind-hearted and hardworking. The husband was a fisherman and wife held a booth in front of the gate to sell some self-brewed wine. There were not many customers due to the inferior taste of the wine to those professionally-brewed wines sold in the market. One day, at the time of sunset, a ragamuffinly old man came when they were about to close the gate. This old man said he came from afar and was penniless, and he requested to have an accommodation for a night. This kind couple showed sympathy to this poor and old man and warmly served him to live in their house. They cooked a carp caught from the West Lake and served the self-brewed wine to the old man. This old man continually drunk three bowls and enjoyed the delicious dishes. After eating, he directly and impolitely went to sleep. On the next morning, before the old man’s departure, he sincerely said:”Thank you your hospitality and I have three herbal balls of wines, which could be helpful for your wine-brewing”. He presented them three herbal balls and disappeared suddenly.

This couple put three herbal balls into the huge crock for making wines and the brewed wine was totally different from it was over the past. The wine was quite tasteful and fragrant. From then on, their booth was widely famous and welcomed by people of Hangzhou. The business also became large and prosperous actually. They dismantled the old hut and built up a large house. For acknowledging the old man, they collected some money as the reward to him. They waited the old man for three years. On a snowing night, the whole West Lake was covered with the heavy snow, and the scenery was quite unusual. That long-absence old man reappeared in this couple’s house. They were quite excited at seeing him again and wanted him to live in his family everlastingly. But the old man left next day and before his leaving, this couple sent him a lot of money. The old smiled and declined. He said:”Thanks a lot for your kindness and beneficence, but I am just a solitary old man. It is not useful for me to take so much money, and you had better spend the money on the things that need help urgently”. As he said, he walked towards that rotten wooden bridge, but suddenly, the bridge collapsed, and he slipped down to the water. The couple rushed to save him, but they were extraordinarily shocked that the old man was standing on the surface of the lake. The old man smiled to them and waved hands to say goodbye to them. He flew away. The couple got to know that this old man was not a common person. They remembered the words of the old man and built up a high bluestone-made arch-style bridge, also, they set up a pavilion on the end of bridge. Since then, the visitors of the West Lake were never afraid of the breach of bridge. The local people named this bridge Duan Jia Qiao(段家桥) in memory of this couple’s good deed to build this bridge. Subsequently, it was called dominantly Duan Qiao or the Broken Bridge, because the Duan(段) and Duan(断) with different shapes of characters share with the same pronunciation.

The scene that Lady White Snake meeting with Xu Xian on Broken Bridge
The scene that Lady White Snake meeting with
Xu Xian on Broken Bridge. It is the most
romantic scene and also the shared memory
of Chinese people on Broken Bridge
The scene of Xu Xian lending umbrella to Lady White and Xiao Qing at Qingbomen when it was raining
The scene of Xu Xian lending umbrella to Lady
White and Xiao Qing at Qingbomen when
it was raining


The second related legend is the famous folktale named The Legend of Lady White Snake or Xu Xian and Lady White Story, many scenes of the story happened on the Broken Bridge such as returning to the town by the same boat, lending the umbrella and falling in love as well as re-meeting after an unexpected separation. There are three most famous bridges for love stories, and thanks for the Legend of Lady White Snake, the Broken Bridge is the first one. Every year, many young and old couples, lovers and singles come to the Broken Bridge from different area of the world for enjoying the legendary beauty of West Lake and the Story of Lady White, and what’s more they also stand on the bridge praying for eternality of love, marriage or the coming of life partners. In China, Hangzhou boasting the Oriental Capital of Love mostly depends on this bridge and its love story. The Broken Bridge in this way is not a common bridge constructed by stones but a spiritual center elevated by humanity, history, culture and love stories. More details are available in Seeraa International.



The Surrounding Scenes of the Broken Bridge as well as the Relevant Themed Poems in Chinese

The surrounding famous scenes including the Bai Causeway, Scene of Autumn Moon on Calm Lake, The Solitary Hill, Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Zhejiang West Lake Gallery, Hangzhou West Lake Museum, Zhongshan Park (the Former Temporary Imperial Palace of Qing Dynasty), Former Residence of Yu Yue, Xiling Society of Seal Arts, Xiling Bridge, Baoshi Hill, Fanghe Pavilion and Museum of Chinese Traditional Sealology. These are the classic cultural attractions of West Lake close to The Broken Bridge. Some themed classic poems themed with the Broken Bridge are available in Seeraa International as well.


The Picturesque Scene of Broken Bridge in spring
Scene of Broken Bridge in Spring
The scene of Broken Bridge in summer
Scene of Broken Bridge in Summer

The Picturesque Scene of Broken Bridge in winter
Scene of Broken Bridge in Winter
The scene of Broken Bridge in autumn
Scene of Broken Bridge in Autumn







Writer: David from Seeraa International
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