Cuihu Park (Green Lake Park)
Cuihu Park (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.
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.
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
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