Hangzhou Wushan Square located at the foot of Wushan Hill or Wu Hill roughly covers 80, 000 square meters. It was officially opened to the public in September, 1999. Wushan Square is made up of the main part, green-land part, sinkage part and public part. Incidentally, Wushan Scenic Area is situated in southeast side of Hangzhou West Lake Scenic Area. Wushan Hill anciently also was called Xu Hill(胥山) due to its memorial hall of Wu Zixu. In Song Dynasty, there used to be a city god temple on the hill, so it was named Chenghuang Hill as well. The landscape of Wushan hill is quite splendid. Su Dongpo, one of the most famous talented scholars and a governor of Hangzhou in north Song Dynasty, highly praised the hill:”蜀客到江南,长忆吴山好”(Travelers of Sichuan have been to Jiangnan and always remember the beauty of Wushan Hill)
The History of Wu Hill Scenic Area
|Hangzhou Wu Hill Scenic Area
The West Lake surrounded by three-side hills and one-side downtown city. The lakeside hills are respectively impressive, and Wu Hill with an approximate height of 100 meters, and it is the most highlighted one in Hangzhou. Traditionally, Wu Hill is the best place to appreciate the view of West Lake. In ancient times, West Lake was a gulf connecting with Qiantang River, and Wu Hill and Baoshi Hill were two capes surrounding this gulf. And at the foot of Wu Hill, there was a huge water area. Local fishers hunted fishes here, and basked their fishing-net on the Wu Hill, so this hill was called Shaiwang Hill as well. During period of the Spring and Autumn, Wu Hill was the southernmost border of Wu State to Yue State, so it was officially named Wu Hill. Wu Zixu, a top official of Wu State, was killed by King Fuchai, due to his continual criticism to King. The people of Wu sympathized with him and built a memorial temple on the Wu Hill, so it is today’s Lord Wu Memorial Temple. This is the first temple on Wu Hill, and roughly more than 2000 years of history up to today. Since then, there are more temples and nunneries on the hill, and some ancient book records there are 72 temples on Wu Hill. Among these architectural buildings, the most influential and remarkable one is City God Temple originally built in Ming Dynasty.
The Lord Wu Memorial Temple of Wu Will
Wu Zixu Memorial Temple(伍公庙), or Lord Wu Memorial Temple, is located on the hillside of Wu Hill and close to the Drum Tower of Old City of Hangzhou. The whole memorial temple is quite large, and the middle one courtyard currently becomes the outdoor leisure site of the local people to drink tea or playing cards and on the left wall, there is the full article of Biography of Wu Zixu from The Record of The Grand Historian by Sima Qian. And a huge statue of Wu Zixu set in the main hall, and the real hall is Chaoshen Hall or Tide God Hall, on both sides of the wall in the hall are the series of pictures of sea gods of ancient China, who were the historic figures of ancient history and gradually became the gods of sea in folk society, because of majority of their dead sites in sea.
Generally, the architectural complex of Wu Zixu Memorial Temple is comprised of Gongbeiting, Shenmamen(The main gate), Yuxiangdian, Zhengdian(Lord Wu Hall) and Rear Hall(Tide God Hall). People can see two flags respectively written with huge characters: ”Ying”(英, Fascination) and “Wei”(卫, Protection). This is a historical record: in Qing Dynasty, Emperor Yongzheng gave Wu Zixu an honorable duke title” Yingwei Duke”(英卫公). Going through the Shenma Hall, there is a courtyard, and in the middle of the courtyard, it is a huge ground carving themed with the Sea Tide Picture. In Yuxiang Hall, there are two huge frescos on the both sides of wall; respectively are the pictures of Lord Wu Hill and Lord Wu Memorial Temple, both of which were painted in Tongzhi’s reign of Qing Dynasty to show the scenery of worshipping Lord Wu at the time. at the back of the Yuxiang Hall, there are six legends about Wu Zixu, and these stories show themselves in series of fresco, respectively illustrating the story of Wu Zixu going through Pass Zhao, crossing the river with the help of the unnamed fisherman, getting a bowl of rice presented by a pure girl, attacking Shu State, being killed and having a memorial temple built by local people of Hangzhou. The highlight of main hall is that huge board”赤心忠良”(Loyalty and Honesty), except the statue of Wu Zixu, and there is an archeological record: in the resurfacing period of Wu Hill in 2001, people discovered a ruined stele, which was a sign of the original Wu Zixu’s statue. The most famous couplet of this temple is Yang Chang’s(杨昌), the governor of Zhejiang province in the reign of Tongzhi in Qing Dynasty:
Two sides of the rear hall display a huge number of the historic sites and remainders related to Haihui Temple and the old Lord Wu Memorial Temple. The rear hall was Haichao Hall (Sea Tide Hall), and the center of the hall is the bronze-made statue of Sea Tide God, this is the unique themed hall in China with the history of Tide Gods. It was said that Wu Zixu became the Tide God of Qiantang River, and in era of Tang and Song Dynasties, Hangzhou was surrounded by huge tides of Qiantang River, and Wu Zixu appeared driving a white vehicle and a white horse to help Hangzhou people. The governor of Hangzhou heard of this tale, and reported the central government and publicly worshipped Lord Wu. From then on, Lord Wu was taken as the God of Tide, and the worshipping ceremonies were held in spring and autumn annually after Emperor’s approval. In Tide God Hall, there are 18 tide gods or goddess painted on the wall on the both sides of the hall, and the first was Wenzhong(文种, whose life story is available in the article of Six Harmonies Pagoda, or Liuhe Pagoda), and the last was Cao E(曹娥, the goddess of Caoe River in Shaoxing city)
The City God Temple of Wu Hill
|Hangzhou Wushan Square
The City God Temple(城隍庙) on Wu Hill is also a landmark. The city god in this temple was named Zhou Xin(周新), from Nanhai, Guangdong province. He used to be the supervision official of Zhejiang, and he was clean-handed and quite just, and the local people commented him “冷面寒铁”(cold face freezes the steel). He cleared away a batch of evil officials and functionaries, and then secretly went everywhere of Zhejiang province to investigate the cases of the prisoners, and saved a lot of innocent people, for this, he was highly respected and supported by the native people, and the malfeasant were all scared of him. Subsequently, due to his affront to some authorities, Zhou Xin was murdered. Having hearing of this news, the residents were in grief. The emperor for relieving the anger, declared that he dreamed about Zhou Xin became the City God of Hangzhou. From then on, the people of Hangzhou established a city god temple on the Wu Hil, and then Wu Hill was called City God Hill as well.
The whole Wu Hill is full of the old camphor trees, which roughly have hundreds of years old, and there are also some Taoist temples over there. The square of Wu Hill can be available from two side-ways of Lord Wu Memorial Temple. On the way, visitors can see several outdoor tea houses, which are the quite leisurable sites showing the traditional lifestyle of local people. The square of the Wu Hill was a huge opera performance platform. On some special days, the people can free enjoy some traditional operas of Hangzhou over here. The back of the platform is the City God Temple.
(Landmarks of Wu Hill: Hangzhou City God Pavilion and Hangzhou Dongyue Temple)
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Writer: David from Seeraa International
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