Leifeng Pagoda, a site associated with the Chinese folk tale Madame White Snake, is situated at the Xizhao (Sunset) Hill south of the West Lake. The original pagoda was built during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, at the order of Qian Hongchu, king of Wuyue (947-978 AD) for his favorite concubine, Consort Huang as a place to preserve Buddhist scriptures. Since the Xizhao Hill is also called Leifeng Hill, the Pagoda was therefore renamed Leifeng Pagoda. When the sun is setting, the tower will glitter under the glow, with its silhouette standing magnificently against the sky, hence the name. Between 1507 and 1566, passageways of the pagoda were burned by Japanese pirates and the bricks that formed its foundation were stolen due to a superstitious belief that they could repel misfortune. Damages of such eventually brought the building to ruins on September 25, 1924.
On December 26, 2000, renovation of the pagoda kicked off. The new pagoda stands at the original site with eight stories, five sides and an altitude of seventy-one meters. Surrounded by hills and the West Lake, it is endowed with an imposing view. To better protect the original pagoda, a pioneering measure was taken to cover the underground site with a glass floor. The ingenuity of building a new one on top of the original one enabled the two pagodas to add to each other’s beauty and brought out once again the stunning scene of the pagoda bathing in sunset glow.