Qiandao Lake (Chinese: 千島湖, Thousand Island Lake), is a man-made lake located in Chun’an County, Zhejiang, China, which was formed after the completion of the Xin’an River hydroelectric station in 1959.
1,078 large islands dot the lake and a few thousand smaller ones are scattered across it covering an area of 573 km² with a storage capacity of 17.8 km³. The islands in the lake cover about 86 km².
At the foot of Wu Shi Mountain (“Five Lion” Mountain) lies an ancient city known as Shi Cheng (“Lion City“), which was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 200 AD) and was first set up as a county in 208 AD.
Lion City of Qiandao Lake China
In 2001 archaeologists discovered the ruins of an ancient city under the water.
These ancient monuments were built over 1,800 years ago and it remains mostly undisturbed at a depth of between 26 and 40 metres.
So, most of the stone carvings are still in almost pristine condition.
The lion city is about the size of 62 football fields and was once the political and economic hub of the region.
Built at the foot of a mountain, the city structure defied the Chinese norm with five gates instead of four.
The ancients streets and memorial archways were well preserved before it was submerged and is widely considered of great historical value by many.
Thousands of islands dot the lake’s surface, including Bird Island, Snake Island, Monkey Island, Lock Island (featuring supposedly the world’s biggest lock), and the Island to Remind You of Your Childhood etc which resemble those animal shapes when viewed from top.
According to the restored map of Shicheng, there were five city gates in all directions.
We can find one city gate tower on each city gate and all together there are five towers.
Besides, six streets in Shicheng City were used to connect every corner of the city as a whole.
The typical roads in Shicheng City were stone roads, tidily paved by flagstone and pebbles.
There are all together 265 arches submerged under Qiandao Lake, among which the Jie Xiao Memorial Arch’s fine carvings remain well-preserved.
There could be much more to explore but the challenge lies in diving upto 40 meters and finding the sunken stone carvings of this ancient city.