Widely known as the "Central Mountain" of the Great Five Mountains of China, Mount Song is a culturally significant mountain in China. Located in Henan province on the south bank of the Yellow River, it is made up of 72 peaks in total, with the highest one being some 1512 meters.
Covering an area of 450 square km, Mount Song is usually divided into two parts – the Shaoshi Mountain area and the Taishi Mountain area. The mountain is one of the sacred Taoist mountains of China, and contains important Taoist temples such as the Zhongyue Temple. Sitting at the foot of Huanggai Peak of Taishi Mountain, Zhongyue Temple has an area of some 100,000 square meters and its buildings are constructed along and one the side of the central axis of the temple. Being a sacred place of Taoism, Zhongyue Temple the symbol of Taoism in Song mountain and was where famous Taoist priest sermoned in Chinese history. however the mountain also features a significant Buddhist presence. It is home to the Shaolin Temple, which is widely known to the world as place of birth of Shaolin Kungfu, traditionally considered the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, and the temple's collection of pagoda forest is the largest in China. The Zhongyue Temple is also located here, one of the earliest Taoist temples in the country.
The Songyang Academy nearby was one of the four great academies of ancient China. The mountain and its vicinity are populated with Taoist and especially Buddhist monasteries. The 6th century Songyue Pagoda is also located here, as well as Tang Dynasty (618–907) pagodas within the Fawang Temple. Eight locations at the foot of the mountain in Dengfeng have been a World Heritage Site since 2010.
Song Mountain has fine natural scenery. 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).
The Gaocheng Stars Observation Platform is a wonderland for astronomy fans. It was on this platform Guo Shoujing undertook tests, mastered the movement rules of the Sun and the Moon, founded the 24 solar terms, and assisted to create the "Shou Shi Li" – the most advanced calendar in the world at that time. Seen as the cradle of Chinese astronomy, Gaocheng Stars Observation Platform was designed by Guo Shoujing (1231-1216), a renowned scientist of Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and was built on Song Mountain in 1276. With a history of more than 700 years, Gaocheng Stars Observation Platform is the only existing one among the 27 ancient astronomical observatories of China.
Boasting beautiful natural landscape and old cultural deposits, Mount Song has been listed on the lists of top ten destinations for tourism within China.