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Central Great Mountain - Songshan

 2014-02-18    Ada    Tours    Dengfeng    2162  

Song Mountain, which is also known as Central Great Mountain (middle mountain), is known as one of the Five Mountains of China. The others in this group are Tai mountain in Shandong Province, Hua Mountain in Shaanxi Province, Mount Heng in Shanxi Province and Mount Heng in Hunan Province. Song Mountain lies in Dengfeng city, in the heart of Henan Province and about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of its capital, Zhengzhou.

Song Mountain has fine natural scenery. The seven peaks of Song Shan stretch for 64km between the cities of Luoyang and Zhengzhou. The slopes rise steeply from the valley and are thickly clad with trees, giving them an impressive appearance, but the highest peak (Junji) reaches only 1500m in altitude. Its 72 mountains, grouped around the peaks of Mount Shaoshi and Mount Taishi, extend for about 70 kilometers (43 miles) from east to west. Besides these mountains, there are many valleys, caves, pools and waterfalls, each of which provides the visitor with a unique and wonderful experience. The landscape is so unique that it has been given the title of 'International Geological Park' by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Except for its landscape, the history of Song Mountain is also rich and interesting. The mountain is one of the sacred Taoist mountains of China, and contains important Taoist temples such as the Zhongyue Temple; however the mountain also features a significant Buddhist presence.It is home to the Shaolin Temple, traditionally considered the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, and the temple's collection of pagoda forest is the largest in China. Its proximity to Luoyang, the ancient capital city of nine different dynasties, made it an essential place for emperors to offer sacrifices to their ancestors and the gods and to confer the crown to their heirs. This has left many sites of historic and cultural interest in this area.

The beauty of the area's scenery also led to many scholars, eminent monks and famous Taoists chose this area as an important place to give lectures, explain Buddhist sutras and develop the teachings of different religions. Practitioners of the three faiths of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism absorbed ideas from each other, which led to their three belief systems growing closer together.

Once you climb Songshan, don’t ever miss Songshan Stratigraphic Structure National Geopark. The Shaolin Monastery in Songshan Stratigraphic Structure National Geopark is also a noticeable spot.

Three major orogenies formed the area: the Songyang Orogeny of 2.5 billion years ago, the Zhongyue Orogeny of 1.85 billion years ago, and the Shaolin Orogeny of 570 million years ago. They were named after local attractions in the area. The Songshan Geopark is also called “the textbook of geological history”.

What makes Song Mountain different from the rest of the Five Mountains is its profound and extensive cultural history. For this reason, a visit to this mountain will be greatly rewarding for scholars of religion, physical culture, astronomy, archaeology, geology, art, and architecture, as well as for travelers with a passion for beauty and history.

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