Mount Tai Fast Facts:
Mount Tai is located north of the city of Tai’an, in the mid of Shandong province
Jade Emperor Peak is the tallest peak in Mount Taishan area, which is reported to be 1,545 meters (5,069 ft) high
Mount Tai is widely regarded as the most important of China’s 5 sacred mountains
The mountain has a strong significance for those practicing the Taoist faith
There are more than 7,200 steps leading to the top of Mount Taishan
A number of temples and other significant monuments are located on and around Mount Taishan
Mount Tai is a UNESCO Heritage Site
Mt. Taishan locates in the middle of Shandong province
and covers Tai’an city and Jinan
city with the area of 426 square kilometers. Its height reaches 1545 meters (5,069 ft) above sea level. Mt.Taishan is well known for its majesty in vigor, grandness in structure, soaring in shy and rooting in terra, broad foundation, steady and massiness. The typical character of natural scenery of Mt.Taishan is splendid, graceful, and spacious.
Mount Taishan is a typical symbol of China. As one of the "Five Sacred Mountains", it is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal, and is often regarded the foremost of the five. Mt. Tai has been a place of worship for at least 3,000 years and served as the foremost ceremonial center for eastern China during large portions of this period.
There is a legend about Mt. Taishan. It is said that Pangu is the ancestor of Chinese people. When he created the world, his head turned into Mount Tai, his belly turned into the Central Mountain, his left arm turned into the South Mountain, his right arm turned into the North Mountain and his feet turned into the West Mountain. Thus, Mt. Tai has become the head of the five mountains in China, in Chinese called “the head of Wuyue (the Five Sacred Mountains)”.
Mt. Taishan is a tilted fault-block mountain with height increasing from the north to the south. It is the oldest example of a paleo-metamorphic formation from the Cambrian Period in eastern China. Known as the Taishan Complex, this formation contains magnetized, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock as well as intrusions of other origins during the Archean Era. The uplift of the region started in the Proterozoic Era; by the end of the Proterozoic, it had become part of the continent.
The word "Tai" in Chinese means stability and peace. In 1987, Mount Taishan was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site and honored “Geopark of the world” in 2006. In China, Mount Taishan is among the first group of “The most important famous landscape of China”, the nationwide 5A class touring spot, the top ten best civilized scenery in China.
Highlights to See in Mount Taishan
As a symbol of the Chinese Spirit and the royal object of worship, Mount Tai has many spectacular scenic and historic sites, thus, it is also considered to be a cultural and historical museum. It is a famous place both of Taoism and Buddhism. There are four marvelous spectacles in Mount Tai, and they are sunrise watching on the peak, shine of sunset, Yellow River watching in sunshine and sea of cloud. There are many attractions in Mt.Taishan area. For example, peculiar geologic structures as three grand fracture layers, Komatiite rocks and Zuixin Stone (a swirl shaped allgovite rocks); masterpieces of ancient constructions as Dai Temple, Nantian Gate, Bi Xia temple; precious stone inscriptions of past dynasties as Qin dynasty stone inscriptions, inscriptions rocks of the Diamond Sutra, cliffs with inscriptions of Tang dynasty; ancient trees like pine trees of Qin Dynasty, cypress of Han Dynasty (about 1800 years ago), locust tree of Tang Dynasty(about 1200 years ago). Here are some highlights to see in Mount Taishan for recommendation.
【Dai Miao Temples】
Dai Miao Temples is located in the north of Tai'an City, Shandong province, and in the southern foot of Taishan Mountain. It is commonly known as "Dongyue Temple (Eastern Yue Temple)". The traditional hike to the top of Taishan starts from this beautiful temple. It is the largest and most complete ancient buildings in Taishan area. It is a Taoist temple, where the emperors used to hold grand celestial ritual and God worship ceremony to the deity of Mount Taishan. The temple was built in the Han Dynasty, and it reached it brilliant time in Tang Dynasty. During Song Dynasty, it went through large-scale of extension and repair. Tian Kuang Hall was built during this period. The architectural style of the temple made used of the imperial palace style. It is built like Forbidden City in Beijing, like a fortress with numerous internal gates and halls. There are about 150 ancient buildings in the temple complex. Dai Miao Temples is known as one of China's four great ancient buildings complex. The other three are Forbidden City in Beijing, Confucian Temple, Confucian Temple & Confucius Mansion in Qufu, Shandong, and Mountain Resort in Chengde. The temple covers an total area of about 96,500 square meters, and it is divided into three parts: The East, West and the Central Axis Areas. The central axis from south to north has Zhengyang Gate, Yao Can Pavilion, Tian Kuang Hall and the Rest Palace; in the East is the bell tower, Han Bai Hall, Dong Yu Throne; in the West is the Drum Tower, Tang Huai Yard, Dao She Yard. Tian Kuang Temple is the main building of the temple, with a total of nine rooms and a stone pedestal surrounded by white stone railings.
【Jade Emperor Peak】
Jade Emperor Peak is the main peak of Mount Taishan. It is so named for there is a temple called Jade Emperor Temple on the top of the peak. The main buildings in the temple include Jade Emperor Hall, Ying Xu Pavilion, Wang Jiang Pavilion, side halls, etc.. In the main hall worships Jade Emperor statue. Here is also the altar of the Heaven Worshipping Ceremony for many dynasties. Boarding on the top of the peak, you can have an overlooking view of Mount Taishan, which is spectacular and breathtaking.
The "Shibapan" means 18 levels stairs，which is the most advantageous part of stairs in Mount Tai. With a total of 1827 stone steps, the "Shibapan" mountain road is one of the main signs Mount Tai. People always say: "Mount Tai of the majestic, all in Shibapan, Mount Tai of the sublime, all in the climb in!" Shibapan has three parts: the "Slow Eighteens", the "No slow no hard Eighteens" and the "Hard Eighteens". The "Slow Eighteens" means this part is easier to climb, and the "Hard Eighteens" means it is harder to climb, which is interesting. The total length of the three parts do not exceed 1 kilometer, but has a drop height of 400 meters. It cold be interesting but tiring to climb it.
【Azure Clouds Temple】
Azure Clouds Temple is another grand building complex near the southern top of the mountain. The temple building is a special combination of metal components, bricks, wood and stone structures. The temple was originally built in 1009 during Song Dynasty. The present look was rebuilt in 1770 during Qing Dynasty. From the Taishan Temple to the Azure Clouds Temple there are numerous stone inscriptions and tablets and ancient buildings on the way. Visitors derive much pleasure from climbing Mount Taishan. From the red gate at the foot of the mountain to the South Heaven Gate at the top are some 6,660 stone steps, which wind their way up the mountain slopes, each step offering a different view.
Besides the above mentioned sites, other distinctive attractions to explore include the Heaven Candle Peak, the Fan Cliff, and the Rear Rock Basin, the Qingdi Palace, Puzhao Temple, Abandoning-Oneself Cliff, Moon Viewing Peak, Sun Viewing Peak, etc.
In addition, there are some must-do things
Watch the sunrise in the eastern top of the mountain
Views overlooking Tai'an and the surrounding areas
Monasteries on mountaintop
Ancient altars, archways and gates along the hike up the mountain
Carvings of prayers and phrases on the rock faces along the paths up the mountain
【Best time to visit】:
September to early November. It is autumn time in China and it is best time to see sunrise on the mountain. If you travel here in Spring, you can see mountain flowers in full bloom, but it rains a lot in this time period. Summer is the rain season, but there are chances to encounter sea cloud view
【How to get to Mount Taishan】:
Mount Taishan is located in Tai’an City. There are many buses leaving for Mount Taishan Scenic Area from train stations or bus stations in Tai’an City. If you arrive at Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport, it is 90 kilometers from Mount Taishan Scenic Area and there is express bus to take you directly to the Mount Taishan from the Airport. If you travel from Jinan, there are many choices. You may read more info at How to Get to Mount Taishan from Jinan