Wudang Mountains — Sacred Taoism Place and Picturesque National Geopark
Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province of China
What Is Wudang Mountain?
Wudang Mountains has been a holy land of the Taoism Religion in China, a National Geopark with spectacular natural sceneries, and the center of Taoist Wudang Kung Fu.
After becoming the royal Taoist place of the Ming Dynasty (1368 — 1644), it had well developed under the support of emperors, which made the ancient building complex hold exceptional artistic and architectural values.
Beautiful Nature and Ancient Building Complex, Photo from Official Site of Wudang.
Important Data of Wudang Mountain
It is located in Hubei Province, the middle south of China;
It is around 312 square kilometers large;
The highest peak is 1612 meters above sea level;
There are 53 ancient buildings with 27,000 square meters construction area and nine architectural ruins with about 200,000 square meters of construction area;
Over 5000 valuable cultural relics are preserved in the mountains.
Ruins of Five Dragon Palace (or Wulong Gong), One of the Earliest Temples of the Wudang Mountains, Photo by Tianshu Shijue.
Who Is the Deity of the Wudang Mountains?
Zhenwu Dadi, also respected as Xuanwu Dadi, is a sacred Taoism deity in charge of the Northern Land, water, military, and the representative of longevity and immortality.
Ancient Building and Censer on Cliffs
How Did the Wudang Mountain Become the Royal Taoist Place in Ming Dynasty?
Wudang Mountains has been a Taoist holy land in history, where many hermits practiced Taoism.
During Emperor Taizong of Tang's reign (626 — 649), the first Taoism temple was constructed there under the emperor's command.
Since then, more hermits, nobles, and Taoists have come here, and they have constructed more temples.
After Zhu Di (1360 — 1424) snatched the throne from his nephew, he claimed that he and his father Zhu Yuanzhang (1328 — 1398), founder emperor of the Ming Dynasty, had been protected and supported by the Deity Zhenwu Dadi.
Portrait of Yongle Emperor Zhu Di by Court Painter — Taipei Palace Museum
Therefore, Emperor Zhu Di respected Zhenwu Dadi as the national deity and the Wudang Mountain as the most sacred place of the Ming Empire.
Since 1412, Emperor Zhu Di had sent over 300,000 workers and artisans to the mountains and constructed the most prominent royal Taoist place.
The emperor demanded to design the buildings based on the legend of Zhenwu Dadi and to follow and protect the natural environment of the holy mountain range.
His close involvement in the design, and significant financial support, made the buildings of the mountains of exceptionally high standards and quality.
Royal Style Building Complex
Cultural Importance of the Wudang Mountains
The ancient building complex in Wudang Mountains is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that holds exceptional artistic, cultural, and historical values;
Martial Art of Wudang is one of the most influential Kung Fu sects in China;
It has been a Taoist holy land in China for thousands of years;
Taoism religious culture, music, herbs, health preservation, etc., have thrived in this region.
Ancient Buildings and Decorations on Summit
Important Cultural Sites
Golden Hall or Jin Dian
Constructed in 1416 at the top of the highest peak, the Golden Hall has been the most sacred palace on the mountain.
This hall used about 20 tons of copper and 300 kilograms of gold to build and enshrine Zhenwu Dadi in the hall.
Today, the Golden Hall is still as shiny as it was first built, despite centuries of rain, thunder, and wind.
Golden Hall or Jindian, Photo from Official Site of Wudang.
Stone-Walled Forbidden City or Zijin Cheng
In 1419, Emperor Zhu Di commanded the construction of a royal city surrounding the Golden Hall, modeled on his Royal Forbidden City in Beijing.
This Stone-Walled Forbidden City was built for Zhenwu Dadi to live.
Building Complex of Stone-Walled Forbidden City or Zijin Cheng under the Starry Sky.
Purple Cloud Palace or Zixiao Gong
Firstly constructed in 1121, extended and rebuilt several times in history, the 274,000 square meters enormous Purple Cloud Palace is one of the most well-preserved Taoist temples.
Besides being a royal Taoist temple of the Ming Dynasty, it is also an example of exceptional wooden architecture of the Ming era, with great artistic, cultural, and religious values.
Main Hall of Purple Cloud Palace or Zixiao Gong
South Rock Palace or Nanyan Gong
South Rock, or Nanyan, is believed to be the most beautiful place in the mountains, where Zhenwu Dadi became immortal and flew to the sky.
Hence, in 1413, under the command of Emperor Zhu Di, temples on the South Rock were rebuilt and extended into a palace.
South Rock Palace or Nanyan Gong on Cliff, Photo by Yang Yingyi.
This stone gateway was constructed in 1551, under the command of the Jiajing Emperor, and with his writing "Zhishi Xuanyue" carved in the middle, meaning a great and prosperous reign.
Xuanyue Gateway is believed to be the border between the deity's land and the human's secular world.
Xuanyue Gateway of Wudang Mountains, Photo from Official Site of Mount Wudang.
Fuzhen Temple or Taizi Po
Constructed in the year 1412 under the command of Emperor Zhu Di, Fuzhen Temple was built on a steep slope.
Its buildings, layout, painted sculptures, frescoes, plants, everything was designed based on Zhenwu Dadi's cultivation of Dao's experiences.
Part of Buildings on Slope of the Fuzhen Temple or Taizi Po, Photo from Official Site of Mount Wudang.
Yuxu Palace or Yuxu Gong
Constructed in 1413, Yuxu Palace used to be the largest complex in the Wudang Mountains, with over 2200 rooms.
However, this 525,000 square meters spectacular palace was ruined in a big fire in 1745 and left only some building ruins.
Stone Turtle Carrying Monument of the Yuxu Palace or Yuxu Gong, Photo from Official Site of Wudang.
Impressive Natural Scenic Views
Sunrise View on Mountain Rnage, Photo by Fuyun Piaomiao.
Picturesque Autumn Views, Photo from Official Site of Mount Wudang.
Peaks and Seas of Cloud, Photo from Official Site of Mount Wudang.
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