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Mount Tai-The leader of the ' Five Sacred Mountains '

taishan

Mount Tai (Tài Shān 泰山) is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an (tài ān 泰安), in Shandong Province, China. The tallest peak is Jade Emperor Peak (Yùhuáng Dīng 玉皇顶), which is commonly reported as 1545 meters tall, but is described by the Chinese government as 1532.7 meters.

Mount Tai is one of the "Five Sacred Mountains" (wǔ yuè 五岳). It is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal, and is often regarded the foremost of the five. The temples on its slopes have been a destination for pilgrims for 3,000 years.
 
History
qinshihuangTraces of human presence at Mount Tai date back to the Paleolithic period. Human settlement of the area can be proven from the neolithic period onwards. During this time, two cultures had emerged near the mountain, the Dawenkou (dà wèn kǒu 大汶口) to the north and Longshan to the south. In the Spring and Autumn Period (chūn qiū shí qī 春秋时期), the mountain lay on the boundary between the competing States of Qi (qí 齐) (north of the mountain) and Lu (lǔ 鲁) (south). In the ensuing Warring States Period (zhàn guó shí qī 战国时期), the State of Qi erected a 500 km-long wall to protect itself against an invasion. Ruins of this wall are still present today. The name Tai'an of neighboring city is attributed to the saying "If Mount Tai is stable, so is the entire country".
 
Religious worship of Mount Tai has a tradition of 3,000 years, it has been practiced from the time of the Shang (shāng 商) to that of the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝). Over time, this worship evolved into an official imperial rite and Mount Tai became one of the principal places where the emperor would pay homage to Heaven (on the summit) and Earth (at the foot of the mountain) in the Fengchan Sacrifices (fēng chán 封禪). In 219 BC, Qin Shi Huang (qín shǐ huáng 秦始皇), the first Emperor of China, held a ceremony on the summit and proclaimed the unity of his empire in a famous inscription.
 
Mount Tai has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. In 2003, it attracted around 6 million visitors. A renovation project was completed by late October 2005, which aimed at restoring cultural relics and the renovation of damaged buildings of cultural significance.
 
Natural Significance

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Mount Tai is a tilted fault-block mountain with height increasing from the north to the south. It is the oldest example of a paled-metamorphic formation from the Cambrian Period in eastern China. Known as the Taishan Complex, this formation contains magnetized, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock as well as intrusions of other origins during the Archean Era. The uplift of the region started in the Proterozoic Era, by the end of the Proterozoic, it had become part of the continent.

Besides the Jade Emperor Peak, other distinctive rock formations are the Heaven Candle Peak, the Fan Cliff, and the Rear Rock Basin.

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Mount Tai lies in the zone of oriental deciduous forest; about 80% of its area is covered with vegetation. The flora is known to comprise almost 1,000 species. Some of the trees in the area are very old and have cultural significance, such as the Han Dynasty Cypresses (hàn bǎi 汉柏), which were planted by the Emperor Wu Di (wǔ dì 武帝), the Tang Chinese Scholartree (táng huái 唐槐) (about 1,300 years old), the Welcoming-Guest Pine (yíng kè sōng 迎客松) (500 years old) and the Fifth-Rank Pine (wǔ dà fū sōng 五大夫松), which was named originally by the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, but was replanted about 250 years ago.
 
Cultural significance
 
Dai Miao

 daimiao
 
The Temple of the God of Mount Tai, known as the Dai Temple (dài miào 岱庙), is the largest and most complete ancient building complex in the area. It is located at the foot of Mount Tai in the city of Tai'an and covers an area of 96,000 square meters. The temple was first built during the Qin Dynasty (qín dài 秦代). Since the time of the Han Dynasty (hàn dài 汉代) (206 BC – 220 AD), its design has been a replica of the imperial palace, which makes it one out of three extant structures in China with the features of an imperial palace (the other two are the Forbidden City and the Confucius Temple in Qufu). The temple has five major halls and many small buildings. The centerpiece is the Palace of Heavenly Blessings (tiān kuàng diàn 天贶殿), built in 1008, during the reign of the last Northern Song (běi sòng 北宋) Emperor Huizong (huī zōng 徽宗). The hall houses the mural painting "The God of Mount Tai Making a Journey", dated to the year 1009. The mural extends around the eastern, western and northern walls of the hall and is 3.3 meters high and 62 meters long. The theme of the painting is an inspection tour by the god. Next to the Palace of Heavenly Blessings stand the Yaocan Pavilion (yáo cān tíng 遥参亭) and the entrance archway as well as the Bronze Pavilion in the northeast corner. The Dai Temple is surrounded by the 2,100 year-old Han Dynasty cypresses.

The site contains a number of well-preserved steles from the Huizong reign, some of which are mounted on bixi (bì xì 赑屃) tortoises. There is a much later, Qianlong (qián lóng 乾隆)-era bixi-mounted stele as well.

Four Routes to Mount Tai (Click to see the Map)
 
Traditional Route-From Red Gate (hóng mén 红门)

hongmen

This route is considered to be the Imperial Route because the emperors all took this way to make sacrifices. With elegant natural scenery, palaces, stone inscriptions are also scattered along the winding path. You set off from Dai Temple, and then you will see Dai Zong Archway, Red Gate Palace, Jing Shi Valley (jīng shí yù 经石峪), Hu Tian Pavilion (hú tiān gé 壶天阁) and Eighteen Bends (shí bā pán 十八盘), etc.
jingshiyu 
Jing Shi Valley
The famous historical relic in the Jing Shi Valley is diamond sutra carved on the cliff, which is the biggest one in China. The lection now is about 1069 words (according to some archaeologist s, the original one has more than 2500 words), with size of 3000 square meter. And the brook goes through on it.

 shibawan
 
Eighteen Bends
Eighteen Bends is most different sector in the entire mountaineering Road. It consists of 1622 step. The vertical height is about 400meters.
Tips: Prepare yourself well before you start to conquer Eighteen Bends. You can have a rest when you finish one bend, but remember do not halt when you are on the step, or you will feel more tired and it’s very dangerous.
 
 
 
Tips:
 1. There are 6000-plus steps along this route and it takes about 4~6 hours to reach the peak. So it is suitable for those who have enough physical strength. The seniors and children should be cautious when you choose this way.
2. Do not take too much water and food with you. Along the way, there are lots of venders and the price is very low, compared with other mountains, for example a bottle of table-water is 2 yuan and a battercake is only 2 yuan. And you can take a empty bottle, as the vendors sell local tea as well as table-water, you can have a try. Of course, on the top of the mountain-Tianjie (tiān jiē 天街) , the price is much higher, but it is reasonable and acceptable (a bottle of table-water is 5 yuan).
3. How to get to the Red Gate? You can take bus NO.3 which directly goes to Red Gate after you get off the train (the bus station is in front of the railway station). Or you can take NO4.Bus (the bus station is in front of the railway station) which goes to the Dai Temple. After Visiting the Dai Temple, you can go to the Red Gate through the back door of the Dai Temple, it is about 1.3kilimeters. If you do not want to take a bus, you can take a taxi (the fee is less than 10 yuan) .
 
Fastest Route -From Heaven and Earth Square (tiān dì guǎng chǎng 天地广场)

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The route is made up of two parts. The first part is the highroad from the Heaven and Earth Square to Mid-heaven Gate. The other part is the cable way from Mid-heaven Gate to the top of the mountain. This route is well equipped with modern facilities and is the most fashionable way to reach Jade Emperor Summit. Attractions concentrated on this route are Heaven and Earth Square, Black Dragon Pool (hēi lóng tán 黑龙潭), Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang (féng yù xiáng 冯玉祥) and Longevity Bridge (xiān rén qiáo 仙人桥), etc.
 
Black Dragon Pool 
 
 heilongwan
 
Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang 

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Longevity Bridge

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Tips:
1. The car can directly reach the Mid-heaven Gate, but in the midseason (golden weeks, summer holidays), there is a traffic control, so you had better take a bus. If you want to drive by yourself, you should avoid these periods.
2. This way is very fast, but it is at the cost of so many beautiful sceneries. So if you do not only want to enjoy the sunrise of Mt.Tai, you can climb up the mountain from Mid-heaven Gate instead of taking the cable car, or you can climb up the mountain from the Heaven and Earth Square, then choose the cable way.
3. You can take the bus NO.3 or taxi (the fee is less than 10 yuan) to the Heaven and Earth Square.
 
 
The most Convenient Route - Peach Blossom Ravine (桃花峪) Route
 
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This route is the most convenient way to climb the mountain, especially for tourists who drive or take a bus from northern places. Peach Blossom Ravine can be accessed by taking the No.104 national highway, then setting off from the big parking lot by bus to the cable-car stop. From there you reach the top in a few minutes. The cable way is designed for sightseeing from the air giving a clear view.
 
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Time of the cable car
time
Tips:
1. The best time to take this route is in spring and summer. The flourishing peach blossom, falling petals and limpid steams will make you feel like you are in heaven.
2. In the way, you do not have to enter Tai’an city. Generally, especially in the midseason, you can not drive into the mountain by yourself, you should stop your car in the Peach Blossom Park, then take the bus (Fee: up 16yuan, down 15yuan).
3. If you want to enjoy this route but reach Tai,an by other vehicles, you can take NO.16 bus (the bus station is in front of the railway station) to the Peach Blossom Park. SP: the last bus is at 5PM, please pay attention to time.
 
Adventurous Route -Tianzhu Peak (tiān zhù fēng 天烛峰)  Route
 
tianzhu peak
 
Just as its name implies, Tianzhu Peak was named because it is shaped like a candle, with a pine tree standing on top like a flame. This route is the most rugged one and is suitable for the adventurous. You will enjoy General Peak, Eight Immortals Cave (bā xiān dòng 八仙洞),Big Tianzhu Peak and Small Tianzhu Peak, etc. It is also a better way to appreciate the pine trees in Hou Shi Wu (hòu shí wù 后石坞) (a spot where most of the old pine trees are growing).
If you want to see the unique natural scenery in Mt.Tai, you had better choose this route, and all of the beautiful scenery should be found by yourselves. 
 
Hou Shi Wu

houshiwu
 
Tips:
1. If you choose the second or third route when you climb up the Mt.Tai, you can choose this route to leave; you will not be disappointed if you do so.
2. Compared with other routes, there are fewer vendors along this route, so you have to carry enough food and water.
3. How to get to the foot of Tiazhu Peak? You can take NO.2 special bus for tourists (the bus station is in front of the railway station). SP: the last bus is at 5PM, please pay attention to time.
 
No matter which route you take, at last you will reach the top of mountain, so the following sceneries you can not miss.
 
Sunrise

taishan sunrise

Mt.Tai is famous for the sunrise over the sea of clouds that lies above the plain. This is best described by Mary Augusta Mullikin and Anna Hotchkis in the book, The Nine Sacred Mountains of China: “On a clear day the view form the top is one continuous line of interlacing mountains lying to the north and east, whereas to the south the plain spreads out in a glory of light, as though the tawny soil had become a golden yellow carpet.”

sunrise time

Tip:
1. There are two ways to see the grand sunrise
Lodges in a hotel located on the top of mountain. Usually, most of the travelers in the hotel will go to enjoy the sunrise, so the only thing you have to do is to ask the owner or the waiters of the hotel the departure time. In most of the cases, the owner or the waiter will guide you to the right place to see the sunrise.
Lodges in a hotel located at the foot of mountain (in the Tai’an city), and Climb up the Mt.Tai at night (Usually start at 1am). and reach Jade Emperor Summit to see sunrise. It must be an exciting and interesting experience.
2. It is cold on the top of the mountain, even if in the summer, so do not forget to take a thick coat or sweater with you. If you Lodges in a hotel located on the top of mountain, you can rent a overcoat from the hotel (fee: about 10 yuan )
3. Take enough films or make sure your digital camera has enough power (The voltage on the top of mountain is not so stable ,you had better take two or three pieces of batteries)

How to get to Mount.Tai

By train (convenient and cheap way)
From Bejing to Tai’an
train time
From Shanghai to Tai’an

train time

From Jinan to Tai’an
Large numbers of trains departing from Jinan pass through Tai’an everyday, you can choose any time you like. Fee is RMB6~ 13 and it’ll take about 1 hour.

By airline
The Yaoqiang (yáo qiáng 遥墙) International Airport is not far from Tai’an (about 90km), you can first reach there and then take a bus which start from the airport to Tai’an.
It is very easy for you to buy a ticket to Tai’an. And if you are in Tai’an and want to book a ticket or ask the information of the airline, you can call 0538-6152748 for help.

By bus
Large numbers of buses (at intervals of ten minutes) departing from Jinan can reach Tai’an. You can go to any of the bus station.

Long distance Bus Station
Tel: 0531-85861716
Fee is RMB 8~ 20 and it’ll take about 1.5 hours.

For more information please Click here to get China Travel Service

Have a good time in Mount Tai!

 

Last Updated on Friday, 09 April 2010 21:01
 

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