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

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

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

What Is Chaohu Lake?

 

The Chaohu Lake or Chao 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 architecture, history, and culture developed around the 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.

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

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 this area. 

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

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

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 Mount Mu (in Chinese as Mushan Dao) to commemorate her. 

Mount Mu or Mushan Dao of Chaohu Lake

Mount Mu or Mushan Dao, Photo by Yinshanzhiren.

History of Chaohu Lake.

 

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

 

Soon, the Chaozhou region became a vassal state 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 was devoured by water. 

 

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

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

Nearby Sanhe Ancient Town, Photo from Official Site of Sanhe.

Story of 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 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 the lake. For reasons regarding if it's a big earthquake or a 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

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

Important Data of Chaohu Lake.

 

  • It is located 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 is about 2.89 meters;

 

  • There are over 94 types of fish and 122 aquatic plants;

 

  • 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.

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

Important Cultural Sites and Natural Scenic Views

 

 

Wenfeng Pagoda on Mushan Island

 

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

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

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

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

Zhongmiao Temple

Firstly constructed in 239 to worship the deity of Chaohu, 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.

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

Yinping Mountain

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

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

Yinping Mountain, Photo from Official Site of Chaohu.

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

Inside the Ziwei Cave