Chinese new year travel

Having completed two-thirds of theclimjD and arrived at the junction ofthe east and west routes, the climber will now reach the Halfway Gate to Heaven, a stone edifice from the Qing period (1644-1911).

Those who will find the next stretch too difficult can travel from here to the top by cable-railway.

To the north of the Halfway Gate to Heaven is Walk-in-Cloud Bridge (Yunbu Qiao), which leads over a fast-flowing stream, followed by the Pines of the Fifth Class (Wudaifu Song), which were planted in 1730. Further north stands the Pavilion of the Facing Pines (Duisong Ting).

The Staircase of Eighteen Bends (Shiba Pan) has more than 1000 steps and leads up to the Southern Gateway to Heaven.

The Southern Gateway to Heaven, another stone edifice, was built in 1264. Under the ledge can be seen the three Chinese characters “mo kong ge”, meaning “pavilion which reaches up to heaven”.

It is now only 1km/1100yd to the top. On the way the climber will pass a Taoist temple just below the peak.

The Temple of the Princess of the Azure Cloud, built between 1008 and 1016, is now reinforced with heavy metal struts. In the main hall stands a bronze statue of the princess, who is revered as the tutelary goddess of Mount Taishan. In the courtyard can be seen two stelae, also in bronze, with inscriptions dating from 1615 and 1625.

The most important of the many inscriptions carved on the group of rocks known as Great View (Daguan) on the nearby Daiding peak is the essay about Taishan (Ji Taishan Mingbai). Standing 13-3m/44ft high and 5-3m/17ft wide, the stone contains 996 ideograms, each of which is 1m/40in. in diameter. The calligraphy was the work of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 726.

To the south-east of Daiding lies Sun-Watching Peak, from where visitors can enjoy the beautiful sunrise.

The climb ends on the Peak ofthe Emperor of Jade (or Emperor of Heaven), dominated by the Temple of the Emperor of Jade (Yuhuang Dian).

Chinese new year travel Photo Gallery

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