Taoist buildings: complex built on mountains - and legends
( China Daily )
Left: A hall on Golden Top Right: Golden Hall
A sprawling ancient building complex in the Wudang mountains of Hubei province was founded in the heyday in the Tang Dynasty (618-960), but reached its zenith during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when Emperor Zhu Di sent some 300,000 workers who spent 12 years finishing the sacred site. The complex includes nine palaces, nine Taoist temples, 36 religious halls, 72 hillside monasteries, 39 bridges and 12 pavilions.
The impetus for such imperial glamour originated in legends passed down through time that say the prince of Pure Pleasure State came to the Wudang mountains to nurture his will and power, and has been worshipped ever since. Most of its buildings can be traced to stories about him, including Pure Pleasure Palace built outside the city of Junzhou,
The buildings are centered at Jinding - or Golden Top - of Tianzhu Peak and spread in all directions. The area extends 80 km to the Xiangshui River in the north, 25 km to Yousheng Temple in the south, 50 km to Black Dragon Temple in the west and 35 km to Jieshanshi in the east.
The complex was designed to fit the Taoist principle of harmony between man and nature. Its buildings are cited as a museum of ancient Chinese design and thought. A thousand of years of lightning, storms and winds only make them more magnificent.
The buildings have won wide acclaim in architectural circles. Two United Nations experts wrote that they think the Wudang mountains are among the beautiful places on earth due to the exquisite architectural achievements that adorn them.
Taihe Palace in Wudang mountains
(China Daily 08/21/2008 page3)