Monday, September 22, 2008

Baochu Pagoda

Baochu Pagoda is a in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, . Known as the ''Landmark of West Lake'', it is located just north of the lake on top of Precious Stone Hill . Its small base supports seven stories and gives it a distinctively slender and elegant appearance.

The name Baochu, translated directly, means "protect Chu", who, legend has it, refers to Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue. As the story goes, one of King Chu's ministers had the temple constructed for prayers to be said for his safe return from a trip he had taken to Kaifeng, in central China. He had been summoned there by the Emperor and had been gone many days with no news of his return.

It was originally constructed in 963 and stood nine stories tall. Its most recent reconstruction, in 1933, left it slightly shorter, seven stories, and it has most recently had its lantern replaced on its top, though its previous one is on display near the pagoda. It is constructed of brick and stone and contains no internal staircase. The tower lies next to a path that runs the length of West Lake's northern mountain range and is accessible by both dirt paths and cement stairs from nearly every side of the mountain.

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