LIUHE PAGODA

Hangzhou

Before entering Liuhe Pagoda (Six Harmonies Pagoda), stop to admire the 13-story building from the outside. Appreciate the exterior eaves, which create strips of light and shade all around the pagoda. It’s considered to be one of the finest pagodas in Hangzhou.

Liuhe Pagoda stands at the foot of Yuelun Hill and has looked out over southern Hangzhou for centuries. Its first incarnation was constructed in A.D. 970 during the Northern Song Dynasty. Since then, it has been rebuilt and renovated countless times, most recently in the Qing Dynasty. Today the 13-story octagonal building is a mix of architectural styles.

Ascend the central spiral staircase to reach the top of the pagoda. Although the outside of the building is 13-stories high, there are actually only seven internal floors. Pause on each of these floors to catch your breath. Peek into each small chamber to admire the deftly carved ceilings that feature various animals, flowers, birds and human characters.

Look out of the many windows that encircle the structure. There is no glass and no bars in these windows, making them ideal for taking photographs of the surrounding scenery. Families with children should be careful around the windows.

Reach the top of the pagoda and take in views of the Qiantang River. See the blue arch of the Qiantang River Bridge. It’s claimed by some that Liuhe Pagoda was built to calm the violent tidal waters of the river. At one point it was also used as a lighthouse.

After you’ve climbed the Liuhe Pagoda, visit the adjacent park. It features small replicas of pagodas from around the world. Kids will enjoy feeling like giants as they move around these models. Try to correctly name as many of the pagodas as you can.

Liuhe Pagoda is located above the banks of the Qiantang River, just to the west of the Qiantang River Bridge. It’s open daily and there’s a small entrance fee. Arrive by bus or taxi from central Hangzhou.