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Xi'an attractions: Huanshan, there's only one way to reach the mountain top
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Updated: 2011-03-04

Xi'an attractions: Huanshan, there's only one way to reach the mountain top

At a height of 2,160 meters above sea level and about 120km east of Xi'an , Huashan, literally Flower Mountain, is undoubtedly a sight for sore eyes.

This mountain is celebrated for its majestic breath-taking crags, steep paths, beautiful scenery and it is said to be the most precipitous mountain in the world. Until recently there was only one way to reach the top of the mountain.

One of China's sacred mountains

The mountain has for centuries been deemed as one of China's five sacred mountains, along with Mt. Hengshan in North China's Shanxi, Mt. Songshan in Central China's Henan, Mt. Taishan in East China's Shandong, and another Mt. Hengshan in Central China's Hunan Province .

In ancient China, emperors and celebrities frequented the mountain to make sacrifice to their ancestors, making it all the more holy and awe-inspiring.

Five imposing peaks

Huashan, also known as the Western Mountain (Xi yue) due to its geographical location in relation to the others, is famed as the most precipitous of the five. Along the 12km path leading from the foot of the mountainside, where it starts at the Jade Fountain Temple (Yuchuan si) to its five peaks, you will get the chance to see some impressive scenes, including the strangely shaped granite peaks and the twisted pines, that make up this, one of the lesser visited of the holy mountains.

Huashan Mountain boasts five imposing peaks with sheer precipices and overhanging rocks: the east one is called the Peak of the Rising Sun which is the best location to view sunrising; the north one, the Peak of Cloud Terrace which is famous for cliffs on its three sides; the west one, the peak of Lotus; the south one, the Peak of Wild Geese which is the main peak and also the steepest of Mt. Huashan; and the central one, the Peak of the Jade Maiden, which links the east, west and south peaks. Each presents a unique scenic beauty, surrounded by over 70 minor peaks.

Places of interests

Places of historical interest and scenic spots: towers, caves, stone steps, temples and pavilion s can be found everywhere. The cloud-enshrouded cliff path, the sculptured rocky cliff, the floating-in-the-air Somersault Cliff, the cliff-excavated Thousand-Foot Precipice with 370-odd stone steps, the Hundred-Foot Valley, the Laojun's Furrow with 570-odd stone steps, the Ear-Touching Cliff, the Up-the-Heaven's Ladder and so on, are all marvelous views of precipitous and perilous cliff paths.

In ancient times, many emperors came here to make sacrifices to their ancestors, and celebrities visited Huashan Mountain leaving quite a lot of stone inscriptions of poems. Huashan Mountain has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, as well as many fantastic and legendary stories. Its fascination lasts forever.

Taoist holy land

The south peak is the main peak and also the steepest of Huashan Mountain. Legend has it that Laozi , the originator of Taoism, used to missionize here. Among the many temples, the Jintian Palace, the Zhenyue Palace and the Chunyang Temple are the listed among the state-level Taoist structures.

The Green Cloud Temple at West Peak is also called the Holy Mother Temple. It enshrines statues of three holy mothers. There is a large stone cut into three parts outside. It is the well-known "Ax Cutting Stone" for it looks as if it is being cut by an ax. Beside the stone, there is a huge ax. According to legend Baolian Deng (The Lotus Lamp), it was used by Chen Xiang to save his mother.

It is on the central peak of Huashan Mountain and stands on a natural stone tortoise. The Jade maiden was said to be Nong Yu -- daughter of Duke Mu of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). The story took place in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC): A young man named Xiao Shi was good at playing bamboo flute . Nong Yu, who fell deeply in love with the poor young man, gave up all her nabobism to marry Xiao. The lovers came to Huashan Mountain and lived here for the rest of their life. To commemorate the couple, people built the Jade Maiden Shrine.

Xi'an attractions: Huanshan, there's only one way to reach the mountain top


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