Mount Hua — Precipitous Mountain and Root of Chinese Culture
How Dangerous and Adventurous of Climbing Mount Hua?
Who and Why Built the Astonishing Plank Walks?
Mount Hua in Shaanxi Province of China
What Is Mount Hua?
Mount Hua, or Mount Huashan, also called Huashan Mountain, is believed to be the most precipitous mountain in China and the root (origin area) of Chinese culture.
Meanwhile, it is also a sacred place of Taoism Religion, with many ancient Taoism buildings scattered.
Ancient Temples on Precipitous Peak, Photo by Yang Wenzhong.
Important Data of Mount Hua.
Mount Huashan is in the Huayin City of Shaanxi Province;
It is around 148 square kilometers large;
The highest peak, the South Peak or Nanfeng, is 2155 meters above sea level;
Huashan has five main peaks, which form a lotus flower shape;
There are over 20 ancient Taoism temples.
Painting of Lotus Flower Shaped Peaks of Huashan, by Tian Xuesen.
The Cultural Importance of Mount Hua.
Yellow Emperor or Huang Di (about 2717 BC — 2599 BC) held alliances in Huashan to meet with other lords or some deities in mythical legends;
This area was the original place of important Neolithic Cultures, including Yangshao Culture (5000 BC — 3000 BC) and Hongshan Culture (4000 BC — 3000 BC);
Painted Pottery Basin of the Yangshao Culture — National Museum of China (Photo by Dongmaiying)
Since Qin Shi Huang (259 BC — 210 BC), many emperors held a grand sacrificial ceremony there, but only at the foot of the mountains;
It is located near Xi'an (120 km to the east), which had been the capital city of Qin (221 BC — 207 BC), Han (202 BC — 220 AD), Sui (581 — 619), and Tang (618 — 907) dynasties.
Mount Hua is one of the most sacred places of the Taoism Religion.
How Dangerous and Adventurous of Climbing Mount Hua?
Considering the important geographical and cultural significance, few emperors and scholars have climbed to the top of the mountains in history.
The most important reason is that dangerous, precipitous peaks made it impossible to hike the mountain.
Until the Tang Dynasty (618 — 907), people started to build roadways in Huashan Mountains, though most were relatively narrow and difficult to use.
Today, besides taking cable cars, climbing to the top is still one of the most adventurous and dangerous hiking trails.
Narrow, Vertical Stone Stairs
Who and Why Built the Plank Walks on Mount Hua?
Taoist master He Zhizhen (1212 — 1299) built plank roads using only wooden rafters and stone nails to practice Taoism on the reclusive and mythical top.
Today's Huashan Plank Walk are strengthened version in recent decades.
The iron chains are added for visitors to hold onto, and the wooden planks are fastened and would be replaced regularly.
Plank Roads and Added Iron Chains on Cliff Face of Huashan Mountain
Who Are the Main Deities of Mount Hua?
Mount Huashan is believed as a wonderful place for many celestial beings to visit or live.
Xiyue the Great, or Xiyue Dadi, is in charge of wind, rain, river, lake, metal, and alchemy.
Yellow Emperor, Taoism deity Taishang Laojun, and other immortals had visited or lived there to do alchemy, meet with different deities, or practice Taoism.
Pond Yangtianchi on Top of the Mountain, Believed the Place that Deities Take Water to Do Alchemies.
This Mythical Small Pond is Surrounded by Rocky Stones but Had Never Overflown nor Dried Up.
Important Cultural Sites of Mount Hua.
First built in 134 BC, it expanded and rebuilt several times later for emperors to worship the Deity of Mount Huashan, Xiyue the Great.
Today, many historical stone inscriptions, paintings, and other cultural relics praising the mountains are well preserved inside this ancient building ensemble.
Panoramic of Xiyue Temple at the foot of Huashan Mountain, Photo by Wang Chuang.
This is believed to be where Emperor Taizu of Song (927 — 976) played Chinese chess with Taoism master Chen Tuan (871 — 989) and lost the mountain to him.
Chess Pavilion on A Peak, Photo by Tianxin Dazhong.
This stone cave in legend was the bridal chamber, where a hermit there and Princess Nongyu, daughter of King Mu of Qin (682 BC — 621 BC), got married.
Since then, this place has become representative of great love.
Impressive Natural Scenic Views of Mount Hua.
Huashan in Winter, Photo by Tao Ming.
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