Mount Hua — Precipitous Mountain and Root of Chinese Culture

Mount Hua in Shaanxi Province of China

 

What is Mount Hua?

 

Mount Hua, or Huashan Mountain, is believed the most precipitous mountain in China, and the root (originate area) of Chinese culture.

Meanwhile, it is also a sacred place of Taoism Religion, with many ancient Taoism buildings scattering on.

Ancient Temples on Precipitous Peak of the Mount Hua, Photo by Yang Wenzhong.

Important Data of Mount Hua.

 

  • Mount Hua is in Shaanxi Province, the middle of China;

 

  • It is around 148 square kilometers large;

 

  • The highest peak of Mount Hua is 2155 meters;

 

  • Mount Hua has five main peaks, which formed a lotus shape;

 

  • There are over 20 ancient Taoism temples.

 

Painting of Peaks of Mount Hua by Tian Xuesen.

 

What is the cultural importance of Mount Hua?

 

  • Yellow Emperor or Huang Di (about 2717 BC — 2599 BC) held alliance in Mount Hua, to meet with other lords, or some deities in mythical legends;

 

  • The Mount Hua area was the original place of important Neolithic Cultures, include 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 ceremony to sacrifice Mount Hua, but only at the foot of the mountains;

 

  • Mount Hua 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. 

 

 

How dangerous and adventurous of climbing Mount Hua?

 

Considering the important geographical and cultural significance of Mount Hua, however, no emperors and very few scholars had climbed on top of the mountains in history. 

 

The most important reason is dangerous, precipitous peaks made it's impossible for people to climb. 

 

Until the Tang Dynasty (618 — 907), people started to build roadways on Mount Hua, though most were quite narrow and difficult to use. 

 

Today, besides a modern cableway, climbing to the top of Mount Hua is still one of the most dangerous, adventurous hiking paths.

Narrow, Vertical Stone Stairs on Mount Hua

Who and why build the Plank Roads on Mount Hua?

 

Taoist master He Zhizhen (1212 — 1299) built the plank roads using only wooden rafter and stone nails, to practice Taoism on the reclusive and mythical top of Mount Hua. 

 

Today's Huashan plank roads 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 Cliffs of Mount Hua

Who are the main deities of Mount Hua?

Mount Hua has been 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 been on Mount Hua, to do alchemy, meet with other deities, or to practice Taoism. 

 

Pond Yangtianchi on Top of Mount Hua, 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. 

What are the important cultural sites of Mount Hua?

 

Xiyue Temple

Firstly built in the year 134 BC, expanded and rebuilt several times later, for emperors to worship the Deity of Mount Hua, Xiyue the Great.  

Today, inside this ancient building ensemble, many historical stone inscriptions, paintings, and other cultural relics praising Mount Hua are well preserved. 

 

Panoramic of Xiyue Temple at the foot of Mount Hua, Photo by Wang Chuang. 

Chess Pavilion 

This is believed the place that Emperor Taizu of Song (927 — 976) played Chinese chess with Taoism master Chen Tuan (871 — 989) and lost Mount Hua.

Chess Pavilion on a Peak of Mount Hua, Photo by Tianxin Dazhong. 

Bridal Chamber 

This stone cave in legend was the bridal chamber, where a hermit in Mount Hua 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. 

What are impressive natural scenic views of Mount Hua?

 

Northern Peak of Mount Hua

Eastern Peak of Mount Hua

Sunset View of Mount Hua

Mount Hua in Winter, Photo by Tao Ming.

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