Centre of Heaven and Earth
Mount Songshang is considered to be the central sacred mountain of China. At the foot of this 1500 metre high mountain, close to the city of Dengfeng in Henan province and spread over a 40 square-kilometre circle, stand eight clusters of buildings and sites, including three Han Que gates - remains of the oldest religious edifices in China -, temples, the Zhougong Sundial Platform and the Dengfeng Observatory.
This monuments include Shaolin Temple architectural complex,Three Que Gates of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Zhongyue Temple,Songyuesi Pagoda,Huishan Temple,Songyang Academy,and Dengfeng Astro Observatory.Disciples of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism based here to advance their religious cultures.
Shaolin Temple, the famed 1500-year-old cradle of Chinese Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism, is just one of the 11 ancient historical sites in Dengfeng of Henan Province added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites during its 34th session in Brazil Sunday morning (Beijing Time).
Some of the sites in the nominated area relate closely to the mountain (Zhongyue Temple, Taishi Que and Shaoshi Que); the Observatory is very clearly associated with the astronomical observations made at the centre of heaven and earth, while the remainder of the buildings were built in the area perceived to be the centre of heaven and earth – for the status that this conferred.
The attributes necessary to represent Outstanding Universal Value are present within the boundaries although the area associated with the concept of heaven and earth is considerably larger than the nominated property and a full justification for the choice of sites within that larger area has not been provided. Within each individual site, sufficient attributes remain to reflect their original layout, even though in most sites many of the individual buildings have been subject to several periods of re-building.
The majority of the monuments are protected as national monuments by the National Government. Only the Kernel compound of Shaolin Temple is protected at provincial level.
The Master Plan (Regulations for the Conservation and Management of Historic monuments of Mount Songshan in Zhengzhou City), approved in 2007, documents policies for protection and management of the nominated sites as well as directions for visitor capacity, circulation, facilities and the ongoing needs of the religious communities.
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