With a long history and splendid culture, Shiyan is an important birthplace of the Chinese nation. The current urban area, named Shiyan, rooted in that in the Qing dynasty 10 dams were built on the Baier River and Jiang River for the purpose of irrigation. Shiyan is also the origin of Taoism and "Wudang Martial Arts". Wudang Taoism has already had a history of thousands of years and the Wudang ancient architectural complex has been listed into the world heritage by the UNESCO.
Shiyan is a nation wide automobile city. It is one of the automobile industrial bases with largest scale in China, known as "Oriental Detroit". Shiyan is the cradle of Dong Feng Motor, birthplace of Dong Feng Motor Company, with numerous influential automobile fitting enterprises and with most competitive automobile technologies research institute as well as automobile fittings trade market.
Shiyan is a tourism destination. It is a shining pearl on the golden tourism route, which goes across Three Gorges of Yangtze River, Longzhong, Wudangshan, Danjiangkou Reservoir and Xian.
Within the border, Shiyan has been noted for its tourism attractions, such as Mt. Wudang, holy land of Taoism, listed in the world cultural heritage and titled as 4-A grade tourism zone, Danjiangkou Reservoir, crowned as the first largest man-made lake in Asia, homeland of dinosaur with concentrated dinosaur eggs and skeletons fossil, and the site of ape in Yun County. Combined with hot springs, waterfall, gorge, cave, virgin forest and modern city, no heat in summer and neither cold in winter, poetic and picturesque scenery, Shiyan is an ideal place that makes people reluctant to leave.
Wudangshan, located in the northwest of Hubei, southwest of Danjiangkou City, covers an area of more than 30 square kilometer. It is now classified as National Park. Wudangshan has 72 peaks with steep valleys and beautiful scenery. The main peak, Tian Zhu Peak (Heaven Column), is 1,612 meter above sea level.
In Spring, flowers bloom & glow to its full blossom and everything is in abundance of growth; Summer time is cloudy with lots of sunshine and at the same time pleasantly cool; In the Autumn of life, one could literally feel the mood with it's colorful scenery; During Winter, snow covers with a feel of surrealism. So it is an ideal place for your sightseeing holidays at any time of a year.
Wudangshan is known as a sacred mountain of the Taoism. Famous Taoist masters in history used to reside here. In as early as the Tang dynasty, people built the Five Dragon Temple. In the following dynasties the buildings on the mountain were expanded.
During the reign of the Ming Emperor Chengzu, large numbers of soldiers and laborers were hired to carry out large scale construction project. Now there are 36 palace halls, which were built in the Ming dynasty. These buildings are the largest existing Taoist complex, in which various sculptures, scriptures and Taoist items are of high cultural and artistic value.
Wudang Mountains mainly has 4 characteristics:
1. Natural scenery
Standing at the foot of the Wudang Mountains, you can do nothing but feel surprised at its immensity. From the top, amazing and marvelous natural scenery is everywhere. Walking through mountains is just like strolling in the pictures. It's really a Taoism wonderland.
The South Rock is the most beautiful one among many rocks. A temple named Longevity Palace which was built with stone carvings rests on the cliff. Beside the palace, there is a stone beam carved with a dragon on it. The beam is 2.9 m protruding from above the cliff. You can imagine it was an incredible feat to build it without modern equipments. The South Rock shows the wisdom and ingenious skills of the ancient craftsmen. Every year, many people would rather take a challenge to burn joss sticks to show their godliness, and they think the South Rock is the No. 1 scenic spot for travelers.
2. Ancient building complex
The magnificent and grand ancient building complex is well worth seeing. It has architectures of the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. There are 72 temples, 39 bridges, 36 nunneries and 12 pavilions. From early 1300 AD of the Tang dynasty, people began to build the Five Dragon Ancestral Temple (Wulongci) on the mountains and promoted Taoism, and so gradually Taoism grew. Hence, Wudang Mountains became the cradle of Taoism. In 1413, the emperor of the Ming dynasty ordered to build 33 palaces and temples within 10 years. They built the Golden Palace, Taihe Palace, Nanyan Palace, Ziyun Palace, and Yuzhen Palace.
The Golden Palace (Jindian) is called "the World Asgard". This is the main large scale palace in the mountains and is well-preserved. The 860 rooms of temples and pavilions make it look majestic. Built in 1416 AD, it is 5.5 m high, 5.8 m wide and 4.2 m deep. The whole building is covered with cast coppers except the base of the palace.
So seen from the distance, the Golden Palace is brilliant and magnificent. Over the years the palace has suffered from wind, frost, rain and snow, but still in perfect condition. You can climb up the top of the palace to see the sunrise at dawn and enjoy a cloud-sea at dusk. The palace contains a 10-ton bronze of Zhenwu Emperor, in a serious and lifelike pose. From the foot of the mountains to the palace there is a "God Path", 70 kilometer long and paved with bluestones. Standing on the top of the Golden Palace, you will have everything in view.
The Nanyan Palace is known as the most spectacular place of the 36 scenic places in Wudangshan. In as early as the Tang and Song dynasties, Taoist priests practiced Taoism here and they built Taoist temples. In history there were more than 600 buildings in Nanyan. Most of them were destroyed in the late years of the Qing dynasty. Now there are the Nanyan Palace, Taichang Temple, Thunder God Cave and Crow Temple.
3. Martial Arts (Wushu) center
The Wudang Martial Arts enjoys great popularity, both in China and abroad. Students of Martial Arts travel from all over the world to study with the masters in Wudang. Whenever Wushu is mentioned, it brings to mind Zhang Sanfeng; the initiator of Wudang Quan (Taiji). According to the legend, his idea of Wudang Quan was rooted in a fight between a pied magpie and a snake. Wudang Quan advocates the cultivation of one's morality and fostering one's nature. It's the main principal of Chinese Martial Art.
4. Taoism culture
Wudangshan Taoist culture is widespread. Taoist culture developed here for 2 reasons. One is that some Taoists preferred to cultivate themselves in the Wudang Mountains according to the religious doctrines; another is that the emperors of different dynasties ordered the building of temples for the Taoists to publicize the Taoist culture. Over time, the Taoist culture developed to maturity in the Wudang Mountains, so people call it the "Cradle of Taoist".
In summary, the ancient building complex in the Wudang Mountains is a bright pearl in China. Also in 1994, it was listed as the world cultural heritage by UNESCO.
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