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Nantianmen

 Nantianmen owns a lot of precious geoheritage sites and cultural relics. Besides the geoheritage sites of the famous Immortal Bridge, Structural Joints, North-pointing Stone, Yuhuangding Rock Body, there are also the site of Wangfushan Rock Body outcrop in the Heaven Street, and numerous penetrating relations among different rock bodies (veins) .  Nantianmen is a representative one with perfect combination between the geoheritage and cultural relics, which is the core area in Taishan UNESCO Global Geopark.

Geosites

1. Eighteen Bends
Eighteen Bends hangs down from the Southern Heavenly Gate like a scaling ladder. It is divided into three sets. Namely, gradual Eighteen Bends, neither gradual nor urgent Eighteen Bends, and urgent Eighteen Bends. Urgent Eighteen Bends is the most difficult stretch of the climb up Mount Tai. In the one-kilometer length of these three stretches, 1600 plus steps make a vertical ascent of 400 meters, much of which is achieved in the last section.

2. The South Gate to Heaven
The South Gate to Heaven is also called "the Third Gate to Heaven", and is the most well-known symbolic Structure of Mt. Tai. It is a tower with a stone arch gateway. There is a garret with double roofs above the Gate, known as the Skyscraping Garret. At the two sides of the gateway, a carved stone couplet is written "the gate keeps away the highest Heavens, facing upward the famous historical sites of Heaven; there are ten thousand worshipped steps and look upon one thousand marvelous spectacles of mountain peak." The outstanding aesthetic value of the South Gate to Heaven depends upon the appreciation of the beautiful. Some experts think that "the concept of the South Gate to Heaven can be said to be an example of combining human landscape with landscape."

The South Gate to Heaven is built at the lower level between the Flying Dragon Rock and the Flying Phoenix Ridge. The two ridges have set off by contrast its central position; joining with the blue sky, the structure's outline is very distinctive; the red wall is especially attractive with its ten thousand green clumps. The South Gate to Heaven is at the end of the long mountain-climbing stair, since visitors have walked all the way and passed the First Gate to Heaven, the Halfway Gate to Heaven and the Becoming Immortals Arch, they need a taller and bigger "Gate to Heaven" to climax ascending Mt. Tai. The specially designed South Gate to Heaven brings acclaim as acme of perfection.

3. The Heavenly Street
Passing the gateway of the South Gate to Heaven, one may go north and turn left to the east. There comes then "the Heavenly Street". The original stone memorial archway called "rising to the center" was destroyed. The rebuilt stone memorial archway has been named "the Heavenly Street". The street is between high rocks to the north and steep cliffs to the south.

In the old times, poor mountaineers built up a row of small shops along the street, selling tea, joss sticks and candles and providing board and lodging for the Buddhist pilgrim devotees. Most of the mountaineers were illiterate and thus hung shop signs before the indoors with the carved wooden signs such as "gold bell", "parrot" and "gold or silver ingot" etc. These shops were then called "gold bell shop", "gold or silver ingot" etc. Now, the former shabby houses have been replaced by classical-style buildings. Shops, restaurants and hotels providing the modern travel necessaries have been built, but they still hand the carved wooden signs such as "The Gold Bell" and "The Goldor Silver Ingot" etc, before the shop doors in order to continue the ancient custom. There are "Elephant Trunk Peak", "White Cloud Cave" and "Blue Cloud Cave" on the side of the steep cliff south of the Heavenly Street. Walking east along the street, there is one archway on the north side of the street entitled as "Looking over the Famous Historical Sites of the State of Wu", it is said that this is the place where Confucius and his student Yan Yuan looked over the State of Wu. One can see that the Confucius Temple is located just north of the archway when one walks up along the stone steps.

4. The Azure Cloud Temple


At the eastern end of the Heavenly Street, and among the cloud and mist there is a solemn towering architectural complex above the stone steps. This is the Azure Cloud Temple. The bronze statue of the Supreme Lady, the Azure Cloud, is offered sacrifices in the main hall. The bronze statues of the goddess of sending birth and the goddess of eyes stand at both sides. The supreme Lady, the Azure Cloud is the most well-known goddess in the north of China. In the 22nd year of Wanli (1593) of the Ming Dynasty, according to the record of "the Tablet for the Azure Cloud in the East Mountain", pilgrims traveling on the road toward Mt. Tai walked for a thousand li. When people asked them why they walked with the calluses on foot for such a long distance, they answered to ask the Supreme Lady of the Azure Cloud for help, for "the Supreme Lady of the Azure Cloud has the ability to bring happiness to all living creatures and fulfill their wishes". The faith in the Supreme Lady of the Azure Cloud has a history of more than a thousand years. The goddess still stands above the summit of Mt. Tai and enjoys the sacrifice and incense offered by the pilgrims, calling those who travel or reside far away from their homes and their countries. She will add luster to Mt. Tai forever.

The Azure Cloud Temple was built in the first year of Dazhongxiangfu (1008 A.D.), at the order of Zhenzong, an emperor of the Song Dynasty. The construction area is limited by its local conditions. It is 70 meters long from south to north, and 35 meters wide from east to west. Mang buildings have been built in this small place such as the gate (entrance), the main hall, the side hall, the bell tower, drum tower, the Joss Stick Pavilion, the building for the emperor, the fireplace, the screen wall, the singing and dancing building and three divinity gates……But visitors can only feel its grander and austerity rather than its narrowness. The temple represents the wonderful construction art and the high techniques of the ancient Chinese builders who had learnt how to build houses according to the local conditions.

5. Tang Polished Cliff

It is located to the north of Bixia Temple. This is a large inscription on a cliff face. The text of the inscription named “Inscription commemorating Mount Tai” is an account written by Emperor Tang Xuanzong commemorating the accomplishments of Sacrificial Ceremony he performed here in 726. The inscription measures 13.3 meters tall by 5.7 meters wide. The inscribed surfaces of the 1,000 characters were originally colored gold. The characters were regilt in 1959 and again in 1982.


6. Jade Emperor Summit
Jade Emperor Summit is the highest point on Mount Tai. The Temple to Jade Emperor was built in 1483 here. The Jade Emperor is the emperor in charge of Heaven in the Daoist pantheon. In the center of this courtyard, a stone balustrade surrounds the mountain’s highest point, 1,545 meters. To the east of the courtyard is Sun Viewing Pavilion, and the west is Yellow River Viewing Pavilion, now a shrine to the twelve symbolic animals of years. On the northwest corner is the stele with the inscription “The Ancient Sacrificial Terrace”. It is this site where the emperors set up the altar and offered sacrificial ceremonies to Heaven.

7. Wordless Stele
This large dressed stone stands just below the Jade Emperor Summit. It is over 4.95 meters in height and is 1.25 meters wide on each side at its base. Because there is no text on the stele, who erected it is a puzzle to people. Some scholars associated the stele with the benign emperor, Han Wudi. However, according to its formation and the records of history, scholars of Mount Tai recently argue that it was put up by Emperor Qin Shihuang.

8. Sun Viewing Peak


This peak on the east end of Mount Tai’s summit is the site where visitors watch the sunrise. Below the corridor for viewing the sun is the Rock which Searches out the Sea. This natural rock is 6.5 meters long and its formation resembles an enormous finger pointing to the northeast. It is the ideal place to watch the sunrise. Now it has become a symbolic representation of Mount Tai.

9. Terrace for Viewing State Lu/Love Life Cliff


It is to the south of Sun Viewing Peak. Standing on the terrace and looking south, one sees the region of the ancient State Lu. To the south of the terrace is Love Life Cliff. The former name of this site was the Abandon Life Cliff. Some ancient people believe that if one’s parent was ill, then by sacrificing one’s life by jumping off the cliff, the deities would transfer this act of “filial” duty into curative powers, restoring the ill parents’ health. Later a wall was erected here in order to prevent people from taking their lives and the site was renamed “Love Life Cliff”.

10. Transcendents’ Bridge
This natural rock formation of a series of boulders looks like a bridge built over a small chasm on the south side of the mountain’s summit. One may feel the miraculous power of nature when viewing this wonder.

11. Father-in –law Peak
Going west and downwards from the summit, a giant rock stands. The name of Mount Tai has taken on the meaning of fathering-law. This meaning derives from a historical tale from the Tang Dynasty. When Emperor Tang Xuanzong celebrated the Sacrifices Ceremonies in 725, Zhang Yue had the title of the Commissioner of the Sacrifices. He promoted his son-in-law to the fifth rank from the ninth level. Such a brusque promotion was due to the power of Mount Tai. These words of pun made Mount Tai a synonym of father-in-law.

Time�� 2017/6/12 11:11:00 Hits�� 2393

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