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Huangshan Mountains, Anhui

Huangshan ("Yellow Mountains") Scenic Area is a National Geopark located in southern Anhui Province's Shexian, Yixian, Taiping and Xining counties. The park covers about 55 square miles. Within it are packed 72 mountain peaks of over 1000 meters (about 3300 feet) in elevation. The park's three main peaks, Lotus, Brightness Apex and Celestial Capital, all climb to over 5900 feet. Huangshan was listed as one of the World Natural and Cultural Heritages in 1990.

Wu yue is the collective name given to China's most important mountains, namely Mt. Taishan in Shandong Province, Mt. Huashan in Shaanxi Province, Mt. Hengshan in Shanxi Province, Mt. Songshan in Henan Province and Mt. Hengshan in Hunan Province. It is said that you won't want to visit any other mountains after seeing wu yue but you won't wish to see even wu yue after returning from Mt. Huangshan. This saying may give you some idea of the beauty and uniqueness of Mt. Huangshan. Together with the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Great Wall, Mt. Huangshan has become one of the great symbols of China.

Mt. Huangshan can boast not only of its magnificence but also its abundant resources and great variety of zoological species, for which it has been listed as a World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site.

To say the least, the park is picturesque. A number of spots within the park stand out, including the Hot Spring Scenic Area. The hot springs have been in use as a resort and health spa for over a thousand years. The spring is a mineral spring, and the Chinese swear by the restorative and healing power. The spring's clear water stays at about 42C degrees (about 108F) and gets used for both bathing and drinking. Some 48 tons of water an hour are produced by the spring.Another important landmark in the park is Yuping (Jade Screen) Pavilion. At over 5500 feet, the Jade Screen offers a panoramic view that defies description. It is especially enthralling if there is rain or mist at the lower elevations in the park. Where a temple once stood here the Jade Screen Hotel now serves park visitors. The view of the peak is behind the hotel. Two large trees, Greeting Pine and Send-off Pine, flank the hotel.

Tiandu (Celestial Capital) Peak is a third spot that simply must be visited if you spend any time in the park. The peak was once a dangerous climb; today it is mostly stone steps with a chain link banister. The peak is over 5900 feet and the twisting climb up te mountain includes about 43,000 steps.

Several waterfalls grace the park. Renzi Waterfall is an inspiring spot within the park It is between Purple Cloud Peak and Cinnabar Peak. Two streams of water form the falls. The local Chinese claim to see the shape of a Chinese character. The fall is almost deafening. The Nine-Dragon Waterfall is the even more magnificent, but the trip to it, between the Xianglu Peak and the Luohan Peak, is somewhat more involved. Baizhang Spring, between the hot spring and Cloud Valley Temple, includes a water fall with about a 1000 foot drop. During drying times of the year the amount of water diminishes here and the fall has been described as looking like "drifting yarn" as if plummets into the pool below.

The Cloud Valley Temple and Pine Valley Nunnery are two favorites with visitors to the park. Cloud Valley Temple is on the eastern side of Mount Hunag, between Boyu Peak and Luohan Peak. The temple is surrounded by pine and bamboo. The Pine Valley Nunnery sits below Diezhang Peak. The nunnery grounds include five "dragon pools" which serve as pleasant places for reflection.

Edited By Athena Lee Photograph taken by Mr. Lin Wenhong

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