Thousands of years ago, here was the largest and most prosperous city of the world —— Changan; after the millennium, the deep culture seems to let me return to the Tang. This ancient city has quietly waiting for a thousand years, let’s ride the time tunnel and cross back to Changan with me!
Situated in Huayin City, 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) east from Xi’an City of Shaanxi Province, Mt. Huashan is known as ‘The Number One Precipitous Mountain under Heaven’. It is one of the five sacred mountains in China. The other four mountains are Mt. Taishan in Shandong, Mt. Hengshan in Hunan, Mt. Hengshan in Shanxi, and Mt. Songshan in Henan.
In ancient times, Mt. Huashan was called Mt. Taihuashan. From a distance the five peaks seem to form the shape of a ‘flower’ (hua in Chinese), hence the name ‘Huashan’. It is famous for its natural vistas of steep and narrow paths, precipitous crags, and a high mountain range.
It is home to several influential Taoist temples where emperors of past dynasties made pilgrimages, making Mt. Huashan the holy land of Taoism.
Usually tourists climb up the mountain assisted by the iron chains along the way and start their tour from Yuquan Yuan (Jade Spring Temple), one of the main Taoist temples in China located at the foot of Mt. Huashan. It has the architectural style of the classical gardens in south China. There is a pond in the center and several pavilions around it.
Walking through the Wuyou Pavilion, the Long Corridor of Seventy-two Windows comes into view, and afterwards Qingke Ping where a big rock called ‘Huixin Rock’ can be seen. It is said that ‘Huixin Rock’ is a reminder for those who wish to stop their tour at this point. Beside the rock are the precipitous 370 rock steps called ‘Qianchi Zhuang’ considered to be the primary breath-taking path of Mt. Huashan.
When climbing, only a gleam of sky above can be seen, making climbers feel as if they were at the bottom of a well.
Across the ‘Qianchi Zhuang’ are two similar precipitous paths-respectively called ‘Baichi Xia’ and ‘Laojun Li’ above which climbers reach Mt. Huashan’s North Peak. There are precipitous cliffs on all sides of North Peak, making it look like a flat terrace in the clouds, hence the name Cloud Terrace Peak. It is 1,614 meters (about 5,295 feet) high.
Three sides are cliffs and one side is to the ‘Ca’er (the ear rubbing the cliff) Cliff’ which is the fourth precipitous path where tourists can climb up only by pressing an ear close to the cliff. In the waist of North Peak trees are luxuriantly green, creating a good rest spot.
When climbing over the ‘Blue Dragon Range’, regarded as the must-pass way to the other four peaks from North Peak, travelers arrive at Gold Lock Pass. Mt. Huashan visitors know that it is customary to buy a golden lock, and then lock it in the iron chains on both sides of the Gold Lock Pass for families and friends to pray for their safety and health.
It is a marvelous spectacle to see thousands of golden locks in the iron chains. Within the mountain gate of Gold Lock Pass, a huge golden lock of about 4 meters (about 4.37 yards) long and 1 .5 meters (about 1.64 yards) high stands in a big rock. It is made of pure copper and forged by 9,999 locks left by visitors. It is a popular photo site.
This huge lock can only be opened by throwing coins – one coin represent the status of an ordinary person; three coins, a blessed person and nine coins a most blessed one. Gold Lock Pass is the throat to Middle Peak, East Peak, South Peak and West Peak.
Other scenic spots in Middle Peak include Rootless Tree and Sacrificing Tree which have beautiful stories and add to the supernatural atmosphere of Middle Peak.
Tour guides may promote climbing the mountain at night to see the sunrise. Climbing to the top of East Peak requires 4 to 6 hours. East Peak has an altitude of 2,090 meters (about 6,857 feet) forming a platform for visitors to view the sunrise.
An astronomical telescope is provided here. The reference time for sunrise and sunset is 5:00a.m.-6:00a.m. in spring, 4:30a.m.-5:20a.m. in summer, 5:00a.m.-5:20a.m. in autumn, 5:30a.m.-6:00a.m. in winter.
One well-known scenic spot called the ‘Immortal’s Palm Peak of Mt. Huashan which is ranked as one of the ‘Eight Scenic Wonders of the Guanzhong Area (the plain area in the middle of Shaanxi Province)’ is located on East Peak.
Then it is a few pictures of people!