Mountains in China — Magnificent Cultural Landscapes

Comparing to humans, mountains are magnificent and eternal, which believed as paths to heaven or the residence of different deities in ancient times, have accumulated countless folklores, and been visited and eulogized by countless people throughout history. 


Therefore, besides amazing natural scenes, famous mountains in China hold great historical and cultural values, for their beautiful legends, exceptional buildings, cultural relics, and fascinating stories.  

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Kunlun Mountains

 

 

Kunlun is believed the origin of all mountains in China, the Sacred Land of All deities, and the most important mountain in Chinese Mythology.

 

Alias: Kunlun Xu, Mount of Jade, Kunlun Qiu.

 

Location: Qinghai, Tibet, and Xinjiang Provinces, Northwest of China. 

 

Average Elevation: 5500 — 6000 meters.

 

Highest Peak: Gong Ge Er (or Kongkoerh) 7719 meters. 

Deity and Legend:

 

  • Mythical Animals Lu Wu is in charge of all mythical creatures and seasons.

  • Creation Gods Fu Xi and Nv Wa lived in the Kunlun Mountains, where they created humans, observed nature, and learned basic agricultural knowledge. 

  • Dojo of The Primeval Lord of Heaven (Yuan Shi Tian Zun), one of the most sacred immortals in the Taoism Religion.

 

Related History and People:

 

  • Ji Man (1026 BC — 922 BC), the King Mu of Zhou, visited the Deity Xi Wang Mu in the Kunlun Mountains.

 

  • Jiang Ziya (1156 BC — 1017 BC) used to learn military and strategy there, according to some ancient legends.  

 

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Spectacular lakes, rivers, thermals, and spring that never got frozen.

  • Caves and temples that hermits and Taoists live and practice.

  • Magnificent snow mountains and glaciers, most of which are not accessible for normal people.

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Mount Tai

 

Mount Tai has the most significant political and cultural value in Chinese culture. 

 

It is the place where most exceptional emperors in Chinese History hold the Feng Shan (a grand worship ceremony), also is the hometown of Confucius. 

 

It is the mountain that believed to connect heaven, the earth, the Three Worlds (divine being, human, and ghost), and is the border of Yin and Yang.

 

Alias: East Mount Tai, Tai Mountains, Tai Shan, Dai Shan.

 

Location: Shandong Province, East of China.

 

Elevation: 1545 meters.

 

Deity and Legend:

 

  • Mount Tai is believed the incarnation of Chinese Creation God Pan Gu’s head. 

 

  • Dongyue the Great is the deity of Mount Tai who is in charge of people’s life and death, fate, and justice of the whole world.

 

  • Bi Xia Yuan Jun, an influential goddess of the Taoism religion, is believed to protect decent people with safety, fortune, blessed marriage, and happy children.  

 

Related History and People:

 

 

  • Famous figures that had written articles appreciating Mount Tai: Confucius (551 BC — 479 BC), Mencius (372 BC — 289 BC), Li Bai (701 — 762), Yan Zhenqing (709 — 785), etc. 

 

Tourist Attractions

  • Stone Carvings of important historical events and poems of famous scholars.

  • Ancient Temples, Painted Sculptures of Deities of Mount Tai.

  • Natural Scene Performance about the ancient Worship Ceremony.

  • Spectacular natural sceneries.

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Mount Hua

 

Mount Hua is one of the steepest mountains in China and the sacred place of Taoism Religion. 

 

Even it is located in the earliest settlement of ancient Chinese, and had been documented and visited by many famous monarchs, few people reached the top before the 7th century. 

 

Therefore, many emperors visited and worshiped Mount Hua, but only at the foot of the mountains, because of the precipitous roads. 

 

Gradually, some Taoists built narrow paths alongside the steep cliff of Mount Hua, using nails and wooden planks. That way they could stay and practice Taoism here, in where divine mountain that many immortals are believed to live. 

 

Since then, Mount Hua has become a Taoism mountain.

 

Alias: West Mount Hua, Hua Mountains, Hua Shan, Mountain of Lotus.

 

Location: Shaanxi Province, Middle of China.

 

Elevation: 2155 meters.

 

Deity and Legend:

 

  • Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) met many divine beings here around 5000 years ago. 

 

  • Xiyue the Great, deity of Mount Hua, is in charge of rain, river, lake, treasure, metal, and birds. 

 

  • Taoism Deity Tai Shang Lao Jun did alchemy, using water from a mysterious lake on top of the highest peak.  

 

Tourist Attractions:

  • Ancient, historical Taoism Temples.

  • Around 700 years old stone and wooden paths alongside the steep cliffs.

  • Stone Carvings of important famous historical figures.

  • Huge ancient Chinese Characters carved on precipitous cliffs, with a mysterious origin and the impossibility to implement.

  • Ancient stone houses and caves that hermits used to live and practice Taoism.

  • An everlasting lake on top of the highest peak, the place that deities used to do alchemy in some legends.

 

  • Beautiful natural sceneries.

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Mount Heng North

 

Mount Heng North is a famous representative of the Convergence of Three Philosophical Schools

 

Over 1500 years old temples that were built along cliffs have statues of the masters of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism enshrining inside for centuries. 

 

Mount Heng North is surrounded or connected by some ancient, grand military passes, which left there many ancient relics and ruins of wars in history. 

 

Alias: Northern Mount Heng, Heng Mountains, Heng Shan, Xuan Wu Mountains.

 

Location: Shanxi Province, Middle-North of China.

 

Elevation: 2426 meters.

Deity: Beiyue the Great, deity of Mount Hua, is in charge of animals and nearby rivers and lakes.

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Ancient Hanging Temples (Xuan Kong Si) built along cliffs, and other historical ones scattering in the mountains.

  • Military relics from ancient battlefields, like pass, castle, beacon, Great Wall, etc.

  • Stone carving by famous historical figures.

  • The footprint left by deity Zhang Guolao.

  • Stone caves of former hermits and Taoists.

  • Attractive natural sceneries. 

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Mount Heng South

 

In ancient Chinese astrology, Mount Heng South corresponds to the star that is in charge of all beings’ lifespan; hence, the mountain has become the representative of longevity. 

 

Alias: Nan Shan, Heng Mountains, Heng Shan, Shou Shan, Mount of Longevity.

 

Location: Hunan Province, South of China.

 

Elevation: 1300 meters.

 

Deity:

 

Zhu Rong, also respected as God of Fire and Nanyue the Great, is the deity of Mount Heng South, who taught people to use fire, and brought them good lives. The highest peak there is named after Zhu Rong. 

 

Related History and People:

 

  • Many famous scholars wrote poems appreciating Mount Heng, like Li Bai (701 — 762) and Emperor Zhao Ji (1082 — 1135), etc. 

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Shrine to worship the God of Fire Zhu Rong.

  • Ancient Taoism and Buddhism temples scattered in the mountains.

  • Confucianism academy.

  • Stone carving and articles written by historical figures.

  • World’s biggest bronze ware Ding, carved with 100, 000 Chinese characters of “longevity” from different dynasties and ethnic groups.

  

  • Temple Fair and Religious Activities in big holidays.

  • Beautiful natural scene.

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Mount Song

 

Mount Song had been believed as The Centre of Heaven and Earth in ancient Chinese culture, where ancient Chinese built the oldest observatory to measure shadows of the sun and decide the location of the capital city of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC — 771 BC).

 

Today, it is a grand Geopark with valuable historical building complexes, of which the most ancient building dates back to nearly 2000 years ago.

 

Besides, ancient Taoism temples, Confucianism Academy, and the Shaolin Monastery, a famous Chan Buddhist temple and Kung Fu center, all scattering in Mount Song. 

 

Alias: Chong Gao, Chong Shan, Song Mountains, Song Shan, Wai Fang, Central Sacred Mountain.

 

Location: Henan Province, Middle of China.

 

Elevation: 1512 meters.

Deity: Zhongyue the Great, deity of Mount Song, is in charge of agriculture and all landscapes.

 

Related History and People:

 

  • Emperor Wudi of Han visited here and entitled three ancient Cypress Trees as Generals in the year 110 BC.

  • Empress Wu Zetian (624 — 705) held Feng Shan (a grand sacrifice ceremony) in Mount Song and had worshipped here several times.

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Historic Monuments  “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”, which includes a series of buildings of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and ancient Science.

  • Over 700 years old Astronomical Observatory.

  • Stone Carving wrote by exceptional calligraphers and scholars in history.

  • The oldest (over 4500 years) Cypress Trees were entitled as "Generals" by Emperor Wudi of Han.

  • Attractive natural sceneries. 

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Wudang Mountains

Wudang Mountains had been the royal Taoism place of the Ming Dynasty (1368 — 1644); with substantial supports from emperors, building complexes of Wudang hold great artistic and architectural values.

 

Today, it is a sacred land of Taoism Religion, a National Geopark with spectacular natural sceneries, and the center of Wudang Kung Fu.

 

Alias: Wudang Mountains, Wu Dang Shan, Tai He, Xie Luo, Xian Shi.

 

Location: Hubei Province, Middle-South of China. 

 

Elevation: 1612 meters.

 

Deity: Zhen Wu Da Di, also respected as Xuan Wu Da Di, an honorable Taoism deity who is in charge of the Northern Land, the Water, and the Military. 

 

Related History and People:

 

  • Over 2000 years ago, many hermits and Taoists lived and practiced in Mount Wudang.

 

 

  • Emperor Zhu Di (1360 — 1424) commanded to construct a series of Taoism temples, entitled them the Imperial Temples, and respected the Wudang Mountains the most sacred place in the Ming Dynasty.

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Ancient Taoism buildings from different dynasties.

  • Grand activities of Taoism Religion on important days.

  • Chinese earliest copper-wooden architecture on the top of the mountain.

  • Attractive natural scenes.

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Zhangjiajie National Forest Park & Tianmen Mountains

 

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, a World Geopark with large numbers of plant and animal species, is famous for its thousands of unique quartzite sandstone pillars and Karst landscape nearby.

Alias: Wu Ling Yuan, Tian Men Shan, Da Yong, Yun Meng, Dream of Clouds, Song Liang, Yu Ping, Fang Hu.

 

Location: Hunan Province, South of China.

 

Elevation: 1519 meters.

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • The world’s highest natural stone bridge connects two peaks.

  • Grand Karst Caves.

  • Ancient wooden plank road.

  • Activities and culture of Ethic Group Tu Jia Zu.

  • The natural stone cave named Heaven’s Gate.

  • World’s longest cableway and highest outdoor elevator.

  • Daring glassing skywalk and plank among mountains.

  • Extraordinary natural scenes.

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Mount Lu.jpg

Mount Lu

 

Mount Lu is a place of multi ideologies, where has ancient buildings of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Roman Catholic, Christianity, and Islam scattering in the mountains.

 

Alias: Lushan Mountain, Kuang Shan, Kuang Lu.

 

Location: Jiangxi Province, South of China.

 

Elevation: 1474 meters.

 

Deity: Lv Dongbin used to live and practice Taoism in Mount Lu.

 

Related History and People:

 

  • The name of Mount Lu was officially set in the Records of Great Historian by Sima Qian (145 BC — ?).

  • Many famous scholars, such as Tao Yuanming, Gu Kaizhi, Li Bai, Bai Juyi, and Su Shi, used to live in Mount Lu, when they left many masterpieces appreciating beautiful views here, include poems, articles, stone carvings, paintings, etc. 

  • Zhu Xi (1130 — 1200) had managed and taught in the famous Confucianism Academy named Bai Lu Dong in Mount Lu.

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Ancient religious buildings and Confucianism Academy.

  • Five peaks look like five wisdom scholars sitting together.

  • Magnificent waterfalls, lakes, and rivers.

  • Botany Garden.

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Huangshan Mountain

 

Huangshan Mountain is a beautiful UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage, and World Geopark.

 

Named after Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) the culture hero and ancestor of Chinese Han people, Huangshan is a magnificent landscape with exceptional scenic views and cultural attractions, and an influential place that has been praised in tens of thousands of articles, poems, and paintings throughout history. 

 

Alias: Mount Huang, Huang Shan, Yi Shan.

 

Location: Anhui Province, Middle-South of China.

 

Elevation: 1864 meters.

 

Related History and People:

 

  • Emperor Li Longji changed the mountain’s name from Yi Shan to Huangshan Mountains in the year 747.

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Special shaped pines and stones, and their interesting legends.

  • Sea clouds flowing among magnificent peaks.

  • Grand waterfalls, rivers, and thermal springs.

  • Well-protected ancient villages at the foot of Huangshan Mountains.

  • Ancient architectures, temples, and plank roads along cliffs.

  • Stone carving and articles left by exceptional scholars.

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Mount Wuyi

Mount Wuyi, a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage, is famous for mysterious coffins in the cliff, millennial city ruins of ancient Minyue Culture, historical Confucianism academies,  Taoism and Buddhism temples, as well as spectacular natural views.

 

Alias: Wu Yi Shan, Wuyi Mountains.

 

Location: Jiangxi and Fujian Province, Southeast of China. 

 

Elevation: 2158 meters. 

 

Deity: Wu Yi Jun, a Taoism immortal that protects local habitants.

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Danxia Landform and other extraordinary natural sceneries.

  • Ancient Taoism and Buddhism buildings.

  • Ancient Confucianism colleges and stone carvings left by exceptional scholars.

  • Hanging coffins in cliffs from over 3750 years ago.

  • Ruins of ancient city Han Cheng from about 2200 years ago.

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Mount Wutai

 

Mount Wutai, Dojo of Manjushri, is one of the five Buddhism holy lands in the world, the place that Han Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism have been thriving and coexisting in harmony for centuries. 

Besides, ancient building complexes of Wutai are of great value, the oldest existing wooden structure building constructed in 782 is located there.   

 

Alias: Wu Tai Shan, Wutai Mountains, Qing Liang Shan, Zi Fu Shan.

 

Location: Shanxi Province, Middle-North of China.

 

Elevation: 3058 meters.

 

Tourist Attractions

  • Ancient temples, pagodas, sculptures, and paintings of Han and Tibetan Buddhism.

  • Grand Buddhist Activities on important festivals and occasions.

  • Beautiful natural views.

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Mount Emei

 

Mount Emei is one of the holiest Buddhism places and the dojo of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva (Puxian Pusa), where has giant Golden Buddhas on the peak. 

 

Alias: E Mei Shan, Emei Mountains.

 

Location: Sichuan Province, Southwest of China. 

 

Elevation: 3099 meters. 

 

Tourist Attractions:

 

  • Golden Buddhas on top of the mountains and other valuable sculptures.

  • Ancient Buddhism temples and other buildings.

  • Natural wild monkeys.

  • The mysterious cave where divine beings meet also believed as the place that the God of Wealth used to live.

  • Spectacular natural scenes. 

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