Chaohu Lake — Millennium History, Folklore, Culture in Picturesque Landscape

Islands and Architectures in the Chaohu Lake of Anhui Province, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu.

What is Chaohu Lake?


The Chaohu Lake area used to be an affluent state in history, which was devoured and buried by water. 


Ruins and folklores of the underwater ancient city, invaluable architectures, history and culture developed around Chaohu Lake, as well as picturesque natural views, together made this place an exceptionally scenic area in China. 


Sunset and Sailing Boats on Chaohu Lake, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu Lake.

What is the most famous folklore of Chaohu Lake? 


When the Chaohu Lake area was still affluent land, people there suffered from severe drought once, and they kept sincerely praying for rainfall every day.

A passing-by white dragon saw their sufferings, so he brought a big rainfall using his magic. 

However, this behavior broke the rules of heaven. Hence, the white dragon got punished and was commanded to guard in this area. 


Chaohu Lake of Anhui Province, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu Lake.

Years later, the white dragon heard that this place would be submerged soon. So he transformed into a young man and told this bad news to a lady named Jiao Mu who had saved him before.

Jiao Mu tried her best to inform everyone to escape from the huge flood, however, at last, she didn’t have enough time to run away. Together with the town, she was devoured by water and buried under the lake. 

Afterward, an island rose in the middle of the lake, which was believed as the incarnation of Jiao Mu, and named it Mount Mu (in Chinese as Mushan Dao) to commemorate her. 

Mount Mu or Mushan Dao of Chaohu Lake, Photo by Yinshanzhiren.

History of Chaohu Lake.


King Jie, the last monarch of the Xia Dynasty (about 2070 BC — 1600 BC), was banished to the Chaohu Lake area, believed named Chaozhou, after he lost his final battle. 


Soon, this area became vassal states of the successive kingdoms, then a county of the unified Qin Dynasty (221 BC — 207 BC). 


During the Three Kingdoms area (220 — 266), Chaozhou subsided and devoured by water. 


Today's Chaohu Lake was formed there, and many other cities raised and developed surrounding the lake.


Sanhe Ancient Town next to Chaohu Lake, Photo from Official Site of Sanhe.

Story of the underwater ancient city — The Underwater Ancient City of Tangju or Tangzui


In recent years, the local inhabitants of Tangju or Tangzui found many relics, including building materials, production tools, and daily necessities when the water level declines. 

Soon, archeologists confirmed that those relics date back to the Neolithic area, and the latest articles discovered till now were currencies from Emperor Wang Mang's reign period (9 — 23). 

Its location and scale, and time period of unearthed relics, all fit the folklore of the city in history that was sunk and buried under Chaohu Lake. As for reasons regarding if it's a big earthquake or huge flood, however, are still unknown. 

This ancient city now is still under the water, and more puzzles might be solved if this site were archaeologically excavated someday.


Dragon Shaped Jade Xi of Western Han Dynasty (202 BC — 8 AD), Unearthed from Chaohu Lake Area — Chaohu Lake Museum (Photo by Dongmaiying)

Important Data of Chaohu Lake.


  • Chaohu Lake is in Anhui Province, the middle of China;


  • It is about 560 to 825 square kilometers, based on seasonal differences in water levels;


  • The average depth of Chaohu Lake is about 2.89 meters;


  • There are over 94 types of fishes and 122 aquatic plants in Chaohu Lake;


  • The Chaohu Lake area had been an important military place, where many kings and generals trained soldiers, construct bases, and fought battles.


A Pier on Chaohu Lake, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu.

What are the important cultural sites and natural scenic views of Chaohu Lake?



Wenfeng Tower on Mushan Island


Mushan or Mount Mu, about 1 square kilometer large and 115 meters tall, is the biggest island of Chaohu Lake and believed the incarnation of heroic lady Jiao Mu. 


On top of the Mushan Island is the Wenfeng Tower, firstly constructed in 1631, with historic stone inscriptions and carvings inside.


Wenfeng Tower on Mushan Island, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu Lake.

Zhongmiao Temple

Firstly constructed in 239 to worship the deity of Chaohu Lake, Zhongmiao Temple had been rebuilt several times in history. 

Later, some grand halls were built in the year 1892, to commemorate soldiers sacrificed in wars.

Buildings on Zhongmiao Temple, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu Lake.

Yinping Mountain

Locating on the south coast of Chaohu Lake, Yinping Mountain is famous for special-shaped stalactites, and mysterious limestone caves that in legends some deities practiced alchemy in.

Yinping Mountain near Chaohu Lake, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu Lake.

Ziwei Cave

It is an over 3000 meters' long underground river limestone cave, next to Wangqiao Grottoes with invaluable ancient stone inscriptions and religious statues.

Inside the Ziwei Cave of Chaohu Lake

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