Overview of Wudang Mountain
( chinadaily.com.cn )
"Mt. Wudang area is certainly one of the most beautiful areas in the world because it combines ancient wisdom, historic architecture and natural beauty."
----- Kaosia, expert of the UNESCO
"The great past of China is still solid in Mountain Wudang."
----- Sumimtardia, expert of the UNESCO
"The paradise in the world and occupied a more prominent position than the other five national famed mountains."
----- Yang Tingbao, Vice-chairman of the World Architect Association
Wudang Mountain, in the northwest of Hubei province, is perhaps the best known of China's Taoist holy mountains. It was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994.
The mountain has several main tourist attractions, covering an area of 300 square kilometers. From afar, the scenery resembles a beautiful, traditional Chinese landscape painting.
Wudang Mountain is famous for its perfect combination of natural and cultural scenery. It is also renowned for its magnificent ancient buildings, profound traditional Taoist culture and Wudang kungfu.
Wudang Mountain is beautiful all year round. In spring, the area is filled with flowers; in summer, the mist envelops; in autumn, oranges turn yellow and the smell of sweet-scented osmanthus fills the air; in winter, heavy snow covers the mountain like a white blanket.
Tianzhu Peak, the main peak, which is 1,612 m above sea level, is just like a column supporting the sky. Around Tianzhu are 72 peaks, 36 rocky cliffs, 24 streams, three pools, nine springs and 10 lakes.
Wudang Mountain has rich plant resources. About 600 of the 1,800 medicinal herbs recorded in "Compendium of Materia Medica" compiled by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) scientist Li Shizhen can be found in the area.
Ancient building complex
A sprawling ancient building complex in the Wudang Mountain was founded in the heyday of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), but reached its zenith during the Ming Dynasty, when Emperor Zhudi sent some 300,000 workers in 1412 who spent 12 years to finish the sacred site.
The impetus for such imperial glamour originated in legends that say the prince of Pure Pleasure State came to Wudang Mountain to nurture his will and power. He has been worshipped ever since. Most of the buildings contain stories about him, including Pure Pleasure Palace built in the ancient city of Junzhou.
The buildings are located in a 70-km-long area from the Pure Pleasure Palace in the ancient city of Junzhou to the Golden Hall at the top of Tianzhu Peak.
At present, the well-preserved buildings include Xuanyue Archway, Yuanhe Taoist Temple, Yuzhen Palace, Yuxu Palace, Fuzhen Taoist Temple, Zixiao Palace, Taihe Palace and Golden Hall. The Golden Hall, situated on top of Tianzhu Peak and built in 1416, is the most famous of the buildings.
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 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 its exquisite architectural design.