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Solitary Beauty Peak

 

Solitary Beauty Peak rises from the ground abruptly within Jingjiang Prince City, the very heart and the axis of Guilin downtown. Just as the saying goes: “To take a bird’s eye view of Guilin city, visit Solitary Beauty Peak, to have a glimpse of Guilin’s history, visit Jingjiang Prince City”. Solitary Beauty Peak towers the sprawling Guilin city at its foot and offers the best panoramic view of it. When lit up by the sunrise, it will look like a king in purple robe and golden jade ribbon. This striking phenomenon did not escape the eye of one prince named Zhu Shouqian(1361-1392), the nephew of Zhu Yuanzhang(1328—1398) who is the first emperor of Ming dynasty. Prince Zhu deemed it as an honorable hill matching his prominent identity and an ideal centerpiece for his fabulous mansion. Anchored by this hill, the whole Guilin city spreads out neatly. In this sense, it has served as both a landmark and a totem. Imbued with imperial character and blessed with delicate stone inscriptions as well as 60 Tai Sui Statues, it breathes of rich cultural connotations and holds an irreplaceable status in Guilin people’s mind.

 

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Atop of Solitary Beauty Peak lies a pavilionA crooked stone path leads to it

 



As a place where nature’s beauty incorporates with cultural relics and historical sites perfectly, Solitary Beauty Hill has lured people as a magnet since time immemorial. However, it became a privileged site reserved for princes during Ming dynasty (1368-1644). At that time, a number of 14 princes had trekked this hill to worship heaven, praying for the prosperity and peace for the country as well as the longevity and wellbeing for its people. In the past century, a number of contemporary celebrities include Sun Yat-sen and Xu Beihong(a Chinese ink paintings master) had left their footprints here also.

Solitary Beauty Peak consists of three giant vertical limestone volumes originated from the shallow sea sediment biochemistry about 0.35 billion years ago. Together with Wave-subduing Hill (Fubo Hill) and Folded Brocade Hill (Diecai Hill), they form a golden triangle. Elevated at 216m, this 66-meter-high hill stretches 120m long and 50m wide, covering an area of 0.61 hectares. The past millennia has bestowed it with several nicknames, such as “Purple Golden Hill”, “Number One Hill of Guilin city” and “Sky-reaching Pillar in the South”.

 

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Jijiang Prince City under the foot of Solitary Beauty Peak

 



Highlights of Solitary Beauty Peak

Stone inscription

It shelters 136 pieces of stone inscriptions include documentary records, calligraphy and painting of various dynasties. Among them, the one written by Wang Shougong who exclaimed that Guilin’s landscape is unparalleled elsewhere in the world is the best known. Undoubtedly, these artworks reflect the history of Guilin and represent the essence of culture.

 

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Dushu Cave(Reading Cave or Study Cave)

 



Solitary Beauty Pavilion

Rising 7 meters above the ground, this two-story hexagonal antique architecture atop of Solitary Beauty Hill offers spectacular view of Guilin city. It is only accessible by a winding path of 306 steps. In two critical sections, it is so narrow that only allows one person to pass . With the inclination of the slope reaching 70 degrees, one needs to cling to the stone wall to avoid falling from the cliff. This pavilion measures 4.8m in length and width, spanning an area of 23m2. In front of this pavilion stands a sightseeing platform enclosed with railing. After feasting on the scenery which looked like a scene taken straight out of a traditional watercolor painting, Wang Zhenggong(1133-1203), an upright and talented local governor of Southern Song dynasty(1127-1279), composed the famous line: “East or West, Guilin’s landscape is the best”(Guilin’s landscape is unparalleled elsewhere in the world) during a banquet catering to scholars. This line has highlighted and immortalized the essence of Guilin’s landscape, thus is destined to be passed down forever. One scholar named Zhang Ciliang engraved this line of poetry above Reading Cave on the south face of Solitary Beauty Peak. Soon after this banquet, Wang Shougong took over a lawsuit against a local governor’s son who committed murder. As an upright man, Wang Shougong turned in the criminal, hence offended that local governor unavoidably. As a result, he was exiled to Fujian province and the scripture of his poetry was covered with mud on purpose. Day in and day out, this scripture went into obscurity, together with the author’s name. It was not until 800 year later did this scripture meet the sky again. In 1983, two young archaeologists spotted this inscription accidentally when they were cleaning the stone inscription on the cliffs. Their discovery has ended the long-lasting controversy on who is the real author of this famous saying.

Taiping Rock Cave (Peace Grotto)

Taiping Rock is an impenetrable cave, not for its over one thousand years’ old history, but for the world culture heritage: the 60 “Taisui” statues it harbors. “Taisui” refers both to a star opposite to Jupiter and the Tai Sui General (Chinese people’s protection god, also known as Cycle God) according to Taoism and Feng Shui. According to Chinese zodiac, Jade Emperor has 60 military generals who take charge of the happiness, destiny and fortune of the Secular World for him. Equipped with different weapons, each Military General will rule the world for one year. It is said their weapons can exert significant impact on the general well-being of the mass during their reign. For instance, if the Tai Sui of the year who holds a sword, it signifies people need to do painstaking job to tide over the year. According to Taoism preaches, those whose Chinese Zodiac runs against Tai Sui of the year need to seek assistance and blessing from a Taoist Priest, or they will end up with living an ill-fated year.

Taiping Rock Cave measures 2.9m high, 4.25m wide and 31.5m long, covering an area of 140m2. It resembles a spacious room with even floor and beautiful dome covered with glistening sandstone and stalactites. Some of the stalactites resemble colorful scales of dragon, while others look like girls’ well-combed hair. Princes of Ming dynasty spared no effort to furnish this cave with pagodas, statues, temples, poetries and stone inscriptions. Even the dragon lady Ci Xi left her “masterpiece” on the eyebrow of this cave’s entry. The bloody red Chinese character “Shou”(寿, longevity) serves as a frequent element among tourists’ photos, mainly for its auspicious meanings, of course. On the northwest ridge of this hill hides a cave named Snow Cave which faces Crescent Pool. Snow Cave measures 3m high, 5.6m wide and 32m deep, covering an area of 180m2. What makes it special is its interior wall, which is as white as snow. Once there stand several stone inscriptions of Tang dynasty, but now they have all vanished.

 

 

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 Peace Grotto is home to 60 Tai Sui statues( you can find your protection god here and pray before him)

 

 



Crescent Pool

Nestling at the northeast ridge of Solitary Beauty Peak, Crescent Pool was dug during Ming dynasty for there was a spring running from it. Nowadays it ranks as one of the Top Four Lakes in Guilin. With its banks lined with verdant willow trees and crystal water body spanned with crooked bridges, you can appreciate different sceneries from various perspectives.

 

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Crescent Pool



Sun Yat-sen Memorial Stele

In 1912, Sun Yat-Sen set up his revolution base camp at the foot of Solitary Beauty Peak during the Northern Expedition. To memorize this great leader and “Father of the Nation”, Guilin people constructed one triangle memorial stele and one pavilion along the delicate Crescent Pool for his sake. Built in 1925, this stele measures 8.7m high, with its base measures 3m wide. This triangle-shaped stele symbolizes Three Principles of the People: nationalism, democracy, and the people's livelihood put forward and practiced by Sun Yat-Sen. Its three sides read “the last words from Sun Yat-Sen”, “Yat-Sen will live in the mind of us forever” and “Yat-Sen’s spirit will be passed down from generation to generation” respectively.

 

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 Sun Yat-sen Memorial Stele Awe-inspiring Pavilion(Yangzhi Pavilion)



Rate: 4A

Admission Fee: 70¥(11.2$)

Operation Hours: 07:30~18:30

Note that this peak is situated in the grounds of the Guangxi Normal College, so visitors may enter only after 2:00 pm.

 Gallery of Solitary Beauty Peak

 

>>>> Guilin Tours

 

 

 

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