Tai Shan Mountain Region (World Heritage)
The 1545 m high mountain is one of the five sacred mountains of Daoism and a pilgrimage area that is thousands of years old. With the multitude of temples, ruins, graves and inscriptions, the entire mountain region is an extraordinary testimony to Chinese culture and religion. Main works are the Taoist sanctuaries with the Tai Shan Temple, the “Hall of Heavenly Gifts”, the “Monastery of Universal Enlightenment” and the Temple of the “Princess of the Azure Clouds”, the “Southern Gate of Heaven” and the Jade Emperor Shrine on the Summit. The mountain region also harbors numerous fossils from the Cambrian.
Tai Shan Mountain Region: Facts
|Official title:||Tai Shan mountain region|
|Cultural and natural monument:||one of the “Five Mythical Mountains” of China with Daoist shrines; at the foot of Tai’an with the Tai Shan Temple, also called “Shrine of the Mountain God” (Dai Miao), is the third most important classical building in China after the Imperial Palace and the Confucius Shrine of Qufu, here also the 22 m high and 49 m high wide “Hall of Heavenly Gifts” (Tian Kuang Dian); on the ascent of 9 km and 6293 steps to the “summit for observing the sunrise” (Ri Guan Feng) 819 text steles and over 100 inscriptions as well as the “Temple of the Red Gate” (Hong Men Gong), the “Tomb of the White Mulis” (Bai Luo Zhong), the tomb of Feng Yuxiang, the “Monastery of Universal Enlightenment” (Pu Zhao Si), the “Temple of the Goddess of the Great Bear” (Dou Mu Gong), the Middle Heavenly Gate (Zhong Tian Men), the ” Temple of Azure Blush “,|
|Meaning:||the holy mountain Tai (1524 m) as a place of millennia-old pilgrimage|
Tai Shan Mountain Region: History
|4th-3rd Century BC Chr.||Laozi, legendary founder of Daoism|
|219 BC Chr.||legendary ascent of Tai Shan by the first exalted emperor of the Qin dynasty|
|140-87 BC Chr.||five sacrificial journeys by the Han emperor Wu Ti|
|725||Inscription stele of the Tang emperor Xuanzong on the occasion of his Tai Shan sacrifice|
|726||Legend about the death of Emperor Xuanzong’s pack animal, which is said to have been buried in the “tomb of the White Mule”|
|1009||Construction of the main hall of the Tai Shan Temple|
|1264||Construction of the Southern Heaven’s Gate|
|1560||Construction of the Dai Zong Fang, a gate of honor|
|1620||Construction of the “Tower of Ten Thousand Immortals”|
|1717||Construction of the First Heavenly Gate|
|1759||First annual imperial sacrificial journey to the “Temple of Azure Blush”|
The summit of the emperors
An old Chinese legend of the origin of the world tells that one day in the distant past the body of the giant Pangu began to dissolve: his breath turned into wind and clouds, his voice into thunder, his left eye became the sun, his right to the moon, his blood and other bodily fluids to rivers, his flesh to earth, hair to stars, his sweat to rain, and from the vermin on his skin people arose. The four limbs and the head of the giant were finally transformed into the “Five Mythical Mountains”, which are scattered in all directions of the Chinese Empire.
The Tai Shan in the east is said to have emerged from the head of the pangu. Here, it is said, the sun begins its daily journey to the west. In addition, the mountain is considered the residence of one of the highest gods of the Daoist pantheon, the “Great Emperor of the Eastern Summit”. Its task is to determine the time of birth and death of every person.
According to topb2bwebsites, China’s most influential philosopher, Confucius, who lived near the “Sublime Mountain” more than two and a half millennia ago, is said to have already climbed his summit and pondered: “Whoever stands up here has the world at his feet!” His assumptions were confirmed throughout history, as generations of Chinese emperors went to the Tai Shan in order to be a little closer to heaven and at the same time to legitimize their claim to rule by the gods.
The starting point for the pilgrims, who still storm the summit today, is the small town of Tai’an, which is dominated by the venerable temple of the mountain god. When this holy district was founded is a matter of dispute among historians, even if they estimate its age to be more than two millennia. During the imperial pilgrimage processions, offerings were made there to the mountain god. This is where the “Son of Heaven” and his entourage usually spent a night before tackling the sometimes arduous ascent – on horseback or in a litter. The temple grounds encompass a vast area with hundreds of halls, only a few of which have survived the turmoil of time. The most important is the “Hall of Heavenly Gifts”, which is one of the largest and most sublime creations of classic wooden architecture in China. Inside is a monumental mural depicting the mountain god and his entourage on the Tai Shan.
From here, the path leads over thousands of steps past countless memorial plaques, temples and viewing pavilions to the summit, where every day at dawn numerous pilgrims gather to watch the spectacle of the sunrise. The “Great Chairman”, Mao Zedong, did not miss this either. He, who had always regarded it as one of his greatest tasks to drive the traditional traditions and superstitions from the minds of the Chinese, always liked to orient himself in his own self-portrayal on the grand gestures of his imperial predecessors. So he climbed the Tai Shan, and obviously the gods were kind to him, for they rewarded his effort with a majestic dawn, which is said to have prompted him to say: “The east is red!”