Travel guide to China, the Mount Huang (Huang Shan)

Mount Huang, also known as Huangshan is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The area is famous for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan Pine trees, and views of the clouds from above. Mount Huang is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. (You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

Mount Huang is particularly famous for its sunrises,pine trees, “strangely jutting granite peaks,”and views of clouds touching the mountainsides on more than 200 days out of the year.

The Huangshan mountain range comprises many peaks, 77 of which exceed 1,000 meters (3,250 feet) in altitude.The three tallest and most well-known peaks are Lotus Peak (Lian Hua Feng, 1,864m, 30°07′N 118°10′E / 30.117, 118.167), Bright Summit Peak (Guang Ming Ding, 1,840m), and Celestial Peak (Tian Du Feng, literally Capital of Heaven Peak, 1,829m).The World Heritage Site covers a core area of 154 square kilometres and a buffer zone of 142 square kilometres. (You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

The vegetation of the area varies with altitude: Below 1,100 meters, moist forest can be found; deciduous forest stretches from 1,100 meters up to the tree line at 1,800 meters; above that point, the vegetation consists of alpine grass-lands. The area has diverse flora, where one-third of China’s bryophyte families and more than half of its fern families are represented. The Huangshan pine (Pinus hwangshanensis) is named after Mount Huang and is considered an example of vigor because the tree does not take root in soil, but in rocks.The mountain has over 10,000 pine trees, many of which are more than a hundred years old and have their own names (such as the Ying Ke Pine, or Welcoming-Guests Pine, which is thought to be over 1500 years old).The pines vary greatly in shape and size, with the most crooked of the trees being considered the most attractive.Furthermore, Mount Huang’s moist climate facilitates the growing of tea leaves,[9] and the mountain has been called “one of China’s premier green tea-growing mountains.[10] Mao feng cha (“Fur Peak Tea”), a well-known local variety of green tea,takes its name from the downy tips of tea leaves found in the Mount Huang area. (You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

Carved steps at Mount HuangBecause the mountain tops are often above cloud level, they offer views of the clouds from above. The view from above the clouds is known as the Sea of Clouds or “Huangshan Sea”because of the clouds’ resemblance to an ocean, and many scenic spots are known by names such as “North Sea” or “South Sea.”One writer remarked on the view of the clouds from Huangshan as follows:

“ To enjoy the magnificence of a mountain, you have to look upwards in most cases. To enjoy Mount Huangshan, however, you’ve got to look downward.”

In addition to the view of the clouds, the light effects visible at the peaks also attract many tourists. The sunrises on Mount Huang are also renowned, and watching the sunrise is considered by many to be a “mandatory” part of visiting the area.A phenomenon known as Buddha’s Light is also well-known; on average, Buddha’s Light only appears a couple times per month.

The area also has multiple hot springs, most of which are located at the foot of the Purple Cloud Peak. The water retains a temperature of 42 °C all year.The water of the springs is rich in carbonate and free of toxins and is said to help prevent skin, joint, and nerve illness.

Mount Huang is also noted for having many beautiful waterfalls, a result of its torrent water and uneven landscape. The most famous of these waterfalls, the Nine Dragon Waterfall, is said to wash down the mountain side like a piece of white silk cloth.

History

Mount Huang was formed approximately 100 million years ago and gained its unique rock formations in the Quaternary Glaciation.

During the Qin Dynasty, Mount Huang was known as Yishan (Mount Yi). In 747 AD, its name was changed to Huangshan (Mount Huang) by imperial decree;the name is commonly thought to have been coined in honor of Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor), a legendary Chinese emperor and the mythological ancestor of the Han Chinese; one legend states that Mount Huang was the location from which the Yellow Emperor ascended to Heaven, which is why the area has become so beautiful. Another legend states that the Yellow Emperor “cultivated moral character and refined pills of immortality in the mountains, and in so doing gave the mountains his name. The first use of this name is often attributed to Chinese poet Li Bai.Mount Huang was fairly inaccessible little-known in ancient times, but its change of name in 747 AD seems to have brought the area considerable attention; from then on, the area was visited frequently and many temples were built there. (You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

The well-known Ying Ke Pine, or Welcome PineMount Huang is known for its stone steps,carved into the side of the mountain, of which there may be more than 60,000.The date at which work on the steps began is unknown, but they have been said to be over 1,500 years old.

Over the years, many scenic spots and physical features on the mountain have been named, and many of the names are considered “poetic” and imaginative,and some even have narratives behind them. For example, one legend tells of a man who did not believe the tales of Mount Huang’s beauty and went to the mountains to see for himself; he was almost immediately convinced. One of the peaks he supposedly visited was named Shixin, roughly meaning “believing after seeing.”

In 1982, Mount Huang was declared a “site of scenic beauty and historic interest” by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 for its natural beauty and its role as a habitat for rare and threatened species.The nearby villages of Hongcun and Xidi were also named part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

In 2002, Mount Huang was named the “sister mountain” of Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps.(You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

Artistic and scientific inspirations

A Qing-era Chinese ink painting depicting Mount HuangMuch of Mount Huang’s fame derives from its significance in Chinese art and literature. In addition to inspiring poets such as Li Bai, Mount Huang and the scenery therein has been the frequent subject of poetry and artwork, especially Chinese ink painting and, more recently, photography.Overall, from the Tang Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, over 20,000 poems were written about Huangshan, and a school of painting named after it.(You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

The area has also been a location for scientific research because of its diverse flora and wildlife; in the early part of the 20th century, the geology and vegetation of Mount Huang were the subject of multiple studies by both Chinese and foreign scientists.The mountain is still a subject of research; for example, in the late 20th century a team of researchers used the area for a field study of Tibetan Macaques, a local species of monkey.

Tourism

Mount Huang is a popular tourist destination,with at least 140 attractions open to visitors.The foot of the mountains is linked by rail and by air to Shanghai, and is also accessible from cities such as Hangzhou and Wuhu. As of 1990, there were over footpaths providing access to scenic areas for visitors and staffers of the facilities; today there are also cable cars that tourists can use to ride directly from the base to one of the summits.Throughout the area there are hotels and guest houses that accommodate overnight visitors, many of whom hike up the mountains, spend the night at one of the peaks to view the sunrise, and then descend by a different route the next day.(You can find more China vacations info at Travel 2 China Info . COM)

The hotels, restaurants, and other facilities at the top of the mountain are serviced and kept stocked by porters who carry resources up the mountain on foot, hanging their cargo from long poles balanced over their shoulders or backs.

 

[Source: Wikipedia]