Green Lake Park ( Cuihu Park )
The Green Lake Park,
situated at the western foot of Wuhua Hill,
is a scenically beautiful park inside the city.
By the end of the Yuan Dynasty, it was still
a swampy field for growing vegetables, lotuses
and rice, hence the name "Vegetable Lake".
The water-level of Dianchi Lake was then so
high that it was connected with the Green Lake.
That is why we have the couplet: "Dianchi
Lake spreads five hundred li; the Vegetable
Lake merges with it." As there were nine
mouths of springs beyond the Bamboo Island in
the northeast, the lake was also called "The
Nine-Dragon Pond". It now covers fifteen
hectares of land. Since 1985, the red-pecked
seagulls from Siberia have been spending the
winter months on Green Lake.
There used to be a scenically
beautiful island at the centre of the lake.
In the year 1382, Mu Ying, the Garrison Commander,
started building the capital of Yunnan Province
in Kunming, and the Green Lake was enclosed
within the brick walls of the city. A military
structure, called "the Liu (Willows) Barracks",
was built, which was later changed into a villa
for the Mu family. In 1692, Wang Jiwen, the
provincial governor, built the Biyiting (literally
Green Ripples Pavilion), commonly called Haixinting
(a Pavilion in the Centre of the Lake). Two
long banks divide the Lake into four parts.
Embraced by willow trees along the banks dotted
with a variety of lotuses, with the delightful
contrast between the weeping willows and the
lotuses, the lake offers a scene of freshness,
serenity, and beauty, hence the graceful name
"The Green Lake". The main attractions
include lotuses, fish, willow trees and pavilions.
Ling Shiyi, a Cantonese in the Qing Dynasty,
wrote in a couplet: Fishes teem in the ten-mu
lotus pond; over half the city poplars and willows
are caressing pavilions." It is a superb
description of the scenery.
The Haixinting Pavilion is
at the centre of the Lake. On the north and
south stand imposingly two octagonal pavilions
with craved beams and painted rafters and beautiful
glazed tiles and elegant eaves. Inside the Haixinting
there are two courtyards, where all kinds of
shows are held throughout the four seasons:
flower shows, lantern shows, fish shows and
picture shows. Flowers and trees are growing
luxuriantly in the yards. On the west of the
pavilion are buildings for fish-watching. There
is a two-storey pavilion on which hangs a horizontal
board inscribed with four characters meaning
"Drunk in spring in the abode of immortals"
and facing north is a fish-watching pavilion.
The lake, its banks and the pavilions are wonderfully
arranged, and the painted corridor alongside
the lake and the zigzag bridge are well connected.
All the buildings have yellow and green glazed
tile roofs, with corners seeming to fly and
beams and rafters colourfully painted, typifying
Chinese classical park designs. On the Fish-Watching
Pavilion there is a couplet written by Huang
Kuiguang, a scholar from Fujian in the Qing
Dynasty: "There stands a pavilion that
flanks the lake, taking upon one tenth of its
area; at leisure I'll come to drink alone under
the moon and immediately become one of the three."
The other two refer to the moon and his own
reflection in the pond. This couplet has been
chosen many times as one of the most famous
couplets depicting landscapes in China.
East of the pavilion there
is a big tree-surrounded garden consisting of
three tiny peninsulas which form a garden within
the garden. In the garden Chinese flowering
crabapple trees bloom like red clouds, camellias
and azalea give off sweet scent and weeping
willows bow gently. On the lake float small
boats presenting a scene of bursting life.
On the Gourd Island in the
southwest, there are rows of palm trees dotted
with groves of banana herbs, under which is
a carpet of green grass. The Nine-Bend Bridge
zigzags in the lake. Here is an eye-catching
sub-tropical scene for the tourists. On the
northeastern corner is the Bamboo-Groves Island.
Along the banks are bamboos and azaleas intertwined
with vines. Around the Nine-Dragon Pond is a
big garden, where people enjoy the potted landscape
and celebrate the Spring Festival. On the Children's
Playground, located on the southwestern side
of the lake, the dragon rollicking in the water,
the flying merry-go-round rotating in the air,
and the miniature train rushing round and round
give children fun and make them laugh.
Every winter, thousands of
red-beaked sea gulls from the north migrate
to the scenically beautiful Green Lake Park.
These sea gulls swooping over the water and
scrambling with one another for crumbs of food,
make the park even more glamorous.
Early in the morning,
hundreds of people, men and women, young and
old, come to the banks of the lake to practise
boxing, jogging, singing, and sword-dancing.
It is full of life everywhere. In the evening,
people come to have a stroll, to enjoy the scenery,
or to chant antiphonal singing, amidst willows
on the lake banks, feeling carefree and contented.
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