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Su Shi was a writer, poet, calligrapher and statesman of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). His pseudonym was Dongpo Jushi, and he is often referred to as Su Dongpo.
In many Chinese people's eyes, his poetry and writings are the summit of literature in 11th-century China, while in the eyes of Hangzhou locals, it was Su who laid the foundations of the basic layout of current West Lake.
In the beginning of the Southern Song Dynasty's Yuanyou era (1086–1094), Su came to Hangzhou as mayor. During his tenure, Su was concerned with the suffering of people and left behind a legacy of many contributions to the city. These included dredging the West Lake and piling up the Su Causeway, which helped solve drought problems farmers faced, winning Su the praise of locals. Today, he is still cordially known as "old mayor" by many.
At the crossroads of the Su Causeway and Nanshan Road, the government has built a memorial hall to commemorate the old mayor. It features exhibits devoted to Su, plus examples of Hangzhou cuisine.
In the grounds behind the museum, Su's calligraphy work and poems were carved on the walls.