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Mt. Taishan

The first of China's five sacred mountains, Mount Taishan is located in the central part of Shandong Province. It also named 'Dai Mountain', 'Dai Zong' (the Great Peak), 'Dai Yue' (Yue means High Mountain in Chinese), 'Dong Yue', 'Tai Yue' and 'Eastern Yue'. Tai means hugeness, smoothness, and peace, so it is a holy mountain upon which emperors in all dynasties worshiped and presented their offerings to heaven. Famous Taoists and Buddhists flock to Taishan from all parts of China.

Mt. Taishan faces the capital city of Jinan to the north and the 'Holy City' Qufu to the south; it borders Zibo to the east and lies on the bank of the Yellow River to the west. Most of the landscape around Taishan is in the style of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, blending architecture, painting, sculpture, mountains, stones, trees, and grass together. To some extent, Taishan is the symbol of the greatness and seriousness of Chinese civilization. In 1987, it was listed as a world natural and cultural heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Since ancient times, there have many poems and sayings praising Taishan Mountain. Confucius once said: "Standing on Taishan Mountain, one gets the feeling that the world below is suddenly belittled" And the Poetic Sage Tu Fu wrote: "I must ascend the mountain's crest; it dwarfs all peaks under my feet." The overlapping hills, the massive mountain peak, the green pines, the huge stones, and all the shapes of cloud and mist, all of them make Taishan powerful and bright, quiet and mysterious. From the center of the highest peak - the Peak of the Jade Emperor- natural views and places of cultural interest radiate. From the sacrificial altar to the garrison where the emperor's troops were stationed, and from the Dai Temple to the Peak of the Jade Emperor, it forms a ten-li (3 miles) axis of the nether world, the human world, and heaven.

There are 156 peaks, 138 cliffs and mountain ranges, 72 famous caves, 72 oddly-shaped stones, 130 streams, 64 waterfalls and pools, 72 springs, over ten thousand old trees, 42 historic relics, 13 ancient tombs, 58 ancient architectures, 1,239 stone tablets, 1,277 cliff-side inscriptions, 14 stone statues, and over ten thousand cultural relics on and around Mt. Taishan.

Sunrise, experienced from the top of Taishan Mountain is a marvelous spectacle. On a misty dawn or dusk, if you stand on a higher peak, you can see a colorful halo above the floating mist, blue inside and red outside. If you stand in the proper location, your whole body or your head will be reflected in the colorful halo. You will be a Buddha with colorful aureoles above your head - truly magical! This is the famed 'precious lights' or 'Buddha's halo'. This holy scene appears from June to August every year when the day is half clear with mist and the sun is behind the trees.

In addition, Mt. Taishan is also famous for its stone sculptures, some of which were inscribed by emperors, and some by the hands of celebrities. The sculptures exhibit elegant writing styles, beautiful language, and fine carving. At present, there are 1,696 stone sculptures in Taishan including cliff-side inscriptions and stone tablets.

 Six Beauty Spots
Quiet District – it is the most famous tour route on Mt. Taishan. It starts from Heaven Gate, goes through the Midway Gate to Heaven, and finally to South Heaven Gate. It is a 5.5-kilometer-long (3 miles) winding way, made up of 6,290 steps. Along the way are the main sites: Dai Zong Arch, Guan Yu Temple, the First Heavenly Gate, the Arch of Confucius, the Heavenly Tea-pot Tower, the Bridge of Cloud Footsteps, the Arch of Ascending Immortals, and the Sudden Eighteen Flights.

Spacious District
Located to the west of the mountain, it is the western route for climbing Taishan. On both sides of the trail are elegant ridges and peaks, long deep valleys, high waterfalls, and clear streams. The main sights in this district are the Longevity Bridge, the Temple of the Celestial King of the Creation, the Fan Cliff, the Black Dragon Pool and the White Dragon Poll.

Wonderful District
It is the top of Taishan Mountain. Walking up through the Quiet District, past the Sudden Eighteen Flights, you finally reach the South Heaven Gate, and there you step into the Wonderful District of Mt. Taishan. Here you can feel the great spirit of Mt. Taishan for yourselves. The South Heaven Gate, the Moon-Viewing Peak, the Heaven Street, the White Cloud Cave, the Confucius Temple, the Peak of Jade Emperor, and the Sun-Viewing Peak are the main scenic spots of this district.

Abstruse District
Centered on Shiwu, this district has majestic peaks, rugged strangely-shaped stones, and astonishing old pines. In the background you can hear the singing of birds and smell the fragrance of flowers. The main spots are the Eight Immortals Cave, the Grandmother Temple, the Heaven Candle Peak, and the Lotus Cave. The most surprising natural sceneries are pines growing among the rocks including the mandarin duck pine, the lying dragon pine, the flying dragon pine, the sister pines, and the candle flame pine.

Beauty District
At the foot of Mt. Taishan and the Tai city Tourist area, you can feel the Beauty of Taishan Mountain here without climbing it. The Double Dragons Pool, the Dai Temple, the Heavenly Queen Mother Pool, the Puzhao Temple, and the Five Saints Temple are the main spots.

Elegant District
Lying at the west foot of Mt. Taishan, it mainly includes the Taohuagu (peach blossom valley) Scenic Area and the YingtaoYuan (cherry garden) Scenic Area. It is a good place for people to spend their holiday and to have a rest. The area is full of singing birds, clear mountain streams, and the fragrance of flowers.

Admission Fee:
CNY 125  (Feb. 1-Nov.30)
CNY 100  (Dec. 1-Jan.31)
Cable-car (round trip):
CNY 90   the Midway Gate to Heaven – the top of Mt. Taishan
CNY 90   the Peach Blossom Valley - the top of Mt. Taishan
CNY 40   the Houshiwu - the top of Mt. Taishan
Best Time to Visit:
From April to November