The Broken Bridge enjoys a geographical position of exceptional advantage. Linking Beishan Road and Bai causeway, it stands at the point where the Inner Lake and the Outer Lake meet. It welcomes visitors from all over the world like an envoy of friendship of West Lake.
The Broken Bridge today is covered with asphalt, on which no cracking signs could be found. Then, why does it have the name “Broken Bridge”? We can find the answer from the history. It is said that the Broken Bridge was built in early Tang Dynasty. Zhang Ku, a poet in Tang Dynasty, had written a line, “the Broken Bridge is newly desolated, and the empty courtyard is covered with falling flowers.” In Song Dynasty, the bridge was renamed “Baoyou Bridge”. According to Reminiscence of Martial Art Circles written by Zhou Mi, a couple whose surname were Duan lived beside the bridge in late Song and early Yuan Dynasty. Thus, the bridge got the name “The Duan’s Bridge”. Now, people call the bridge “the Broken Bridge”, because Bai Causeway, which extends to “Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn”, was ended here. “Broken” here refers to the ending of Bai Causeway, but not the bridge. Though there are so many versions of the origin of the bridge’s name, the Broken Bridge today was renovated in 1921 with the donation of patriotic compatriots. The bridge is 8.8 meters long and 8.6 meters wide, with single hole span of 6.1 meters. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most unique scenic spots of West Lake.
The Broken Bridge is also known as a bridge for lovers. According to legend, the bridge is where the White Lady borrowed an umbrella from Xv Xian. They met and fell in love with each other on the bridge, later, they became a couple. However, Monk Fa Hai provoked dissension between them. He separated the couple by deceiving Xv Xian to Golden Hill Temple in Zhenjiang. To get back her husband, White Lady turnd to shrimp soldiers and crab generals for help. Water overflew the Golden Hill, and White Lady had a fierce fight with Fa Hai by using her magic power. Unfortunately, she was defeated and returned to Hangzhou. Before long, Xv Xian escaped to Hangzhou, too. Finally, the couple had a reunion on the Broken Bridge, where their legendary story happened.
Broken Bridge is also famous for its landscape characteristic. It has a unique viewing point to appreciate the snow. “Remnant Snow on the Broken Bridge in Winter” is one of the Ten Sites of West Lake. Backing Baochu Hill and standing between the Inner and Outer Lake, the snow scene of it is most charming. In winter and early spring, when the snow begins to melt, it melts on one side of the bridge first, due the fact that the other side is in shade, which gives the bridge a split image. It is called “the Broken Bridge is not really broken”.