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Emperors & Mount Tai
A mountain that scales China's history
2014-07-30

A mountain that scales China's history

Among the mountains of China, Mount Taishan is the most intertwined with Chinese history, says UNESCO officer Du Xiaofan. Photos by Ju Chuanjiang / China Daily

During a 3,000-year span, emperors, poets and scholars made pilgrimages to Mount Taishan to pray to the gods, leaving behind hundreds of inscriptions and stone tablets, Zhao Ruixue reports in Tai'an, Shandong province.

Tarzan, whose paradise is in the African jungle, might also feel at home on Mount Taishan in Shandong province. Not only does the mountain share the cartoon figure's namesake (Tarzan is translated as Taishan in Chinese) but it is lush with green vegetation that could make for a comfortable environment for the tree-swinger.

Vegetation covers nearly 80 percent of the mountain, which has 989 species of flora, including 462 species of medicinal plants, such as multiflower knotweed, Taishan ginseng and Chinese gromwell, that are indigenous to the region. The mountain also has more than 200 animal species and 122 bird species.

One could only guess if Tarzan would appreciate the temples and stone tablets that dot the mountain. After all, it would be difficult for him to understand them.

Described by UNESCO as "a world-renowned treasure house of history and culture", Mount Taishan is ideal for people who want to learn about Chinese history while enjoying beautiful landscapes.

Named Dong Yue (the sacred mountain of the East), Mount Taishan is located in Tai'an. Jining, Confucius' hometown, lies to the south and Jinan, the provincial capital, to the north.

"Among the mountains of China, Mount Taishan is the most intertwined with Chinese history. Cultural interests and natural landscapes are well integrated into the mountain," said Du Xiaofan, a member of UNESCO's Beijing office.

Mount Taishan, with its dense forests and ancient temples, has been the site for imperial pilgrimages for roughly 2,000 years, according to UNESCO, and the artistic masterpieces found throughout the mountain are in perfect harmony with the natural landscape.

Standing 1,545 meters above sea level, the mountain is by no means the tallest in China, but it is among the first to be blessed with the sunrise's golden hues because of its geographical location in East China. It was regarded in ancient times as the closest position to the sky.

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