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Must-see on Mianshan Mountain

Located in Jiexiu City of central Shanxi Province, Mianshan Mountain is noted for its natural and cultural scenes, especially for its cultural relics. Covering an area of 75 square kilometers, the mountain is a national scenic spot with 14 tourist areas and 400 attractions.
Dragon Head Temple

The Dragon Head Temple is named after twin dragons that, legend has it, made their presence when Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) worshipped Buddha in the temple. The tourist area covers more than 20 sites with cultural relics, including the Longmen Stone Arches. This landmark on Mianshan Mountain with exquisite architecture is an ideal destination to watch the sun set in a sea of clouds. 

Dragon Ridge Peak

The Dragon Ridge Peak is named for its unique shape, like two intersecting dragons. Major scenic areas include a statue of Jie Zitui and his mother, the barracks of Tang Dynasty and health parks with dozens of stone inscriptions about health preservation. 

Nun Lee Cliff

According to the legend, in the spring of A.D. 641 (during the Tang Dynasty), Emperor Taizong (A.D. 627-649) prayed to Buddha in the Mianshan Mountain with his sister, Princess Changzhao. On this occasion, Buddha appeared to them. The miraculous sign, coupled with the amazing views of the mountains, touched Princess Changzhao deeply, and she decided to practice Buddhism here. Emperor Taizong built a temple for his sister on Mianshan Mountain, and the region surrounding the temple was called Nun Lee Cliff, after Princess Changzhao's family name, Lee. The temple is shaded with dark green cypresses and pines, and sculptures from Tang Dynasty are scattered throughout. An old Jiexiu proverb says, "When touring Mianshan Mountain, Nun Lee Cliff should not be missed."

Shengru Spring (also known as Holy Breast Spring or Stone Breast Spring)

Dozens of breast-like stones covered with moss hang from the 100-meter-high and 180-meter-wide cliff. Water drops fall from these stones into the pond below, making a musical splash. During the reign of Emperor Kang Xi (1661-1722) of the Qing Dynasty, Jiexiu celebrity Liang Xiheng described the marvelous scene as a euphonic sound of zither on the cliff over the landscape. Other famous scenic spots are located nearby such as Wangfeng Gate, Four Dragon Gods Temple, Three Emperors Pavilion, Five Sacred Mountains Temple, Mazu Temple, Saintly Mother Hall and the temple of five dragon brothers paying respects to their mother.

Daluo Palace

In 732, during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) of the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Xuanzong restored the Daluo Palace to a large-scale, thirteen-story Taoist architectural complex. It is sometimes called "Shanxi's Potala Palace." Min Zhiting, the former chairman of the China Taoist Association, inscribed "The First Taoist Temple Under Heaven" on the Daluo Palace. The supreme spirit of Taoism and other folk gods are worshipped here. The rare stone inscription "The Diamond Sutra" is displayed in the Baiyun Convent of the Daluo Palace. The white marble inscription "Daode Jing" main classic of Taoism by Laodan) and the sutra depository are the largest over the country.

Sky Bridge

The Sky Bridge is a plank road built alongside cliffs, over 300 meters long and less than one meter wide. Surrounded by clouds and mist, the bridge is suspended over 200 meters from the mountaintop and over 300 meters from the bottom of a gully. Walking along the bridge amidst clouds and mist will make tourists feel the bliss of strolling in the clouds. When standing on the bridge and looking back, you will find Wangbai Dragon (a cypress tree shaped like a dragon) and Rabbit Bridge, a marvelous sight. The most dangerous military fortresses of China—Shile Village and Dongshen Palace, built by Emperor Tai Zong for Lord Lao Zi—are located a short distance away.

Yidou Spring

The Yidou Spring is a natural spring in the shape of a dou (a unit of dry measure for grain). Legend has it that in ancient times, Mianshan Mountain ran short of water, with a scene of desolation. One day, the Primeval Lord of Heaven came to Mianshan Mountain and saw the desolate mountain. He dipped his brush into the East China Sea and spread water on the mountain. Immediately Mianshan Mountain was covered with green trees. To guarantee that Mianshan Mountain would no longer run out of water, the god left several drops of water on the mountain which turned into springs, one of them being Yidou Spring. To express their gratitude to god, the local people built the Dongzhen Palace in a natural cave. A statue of the Primeval Lord of Heaven is enshrined in the palace. The beautiful hanging sculptures on the ceiling describe the history of the universe. Many other amazing natural scenic spots are located within a short distance, such as Elephant Trunk Hill, Deer Bridge, Gushan Rock or Mountain Fixing Rock.

Zhujia'ao Valley

Most of the stories of Zhujia'ao are related to Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty. Zhu Wusi, the father of Zhu Yuanzhang, once came to Zhujia'ao to practice Buddhism and pay homage to the gods. After Zhu Yuanzhang ascended the throne, his father believed it was because of the help of the Heavenly Lord. He went to Mianshan Mountain to offer sacrifices to the god. A succession of other Emperors from the Zhu family came to Mianshan Mountain to offer sacrifices to the gods enshrined here and restore palaces on the Mountain. The hall of the Dongxuan Palace in Zhujia'ao enshrines a statue of the Lord of Ling Bao. His head is covered by a ring of light, and his eyes contain the mysteries of the universe.

Yunfeng Temple

The Yunfeng Temple, also known as the Baofu Temple, is located in and named after the Baofu Rock, the largest natural rock cave in Mianshan Mountian. First constructed in the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), the temple in the cave consists of more than 200 Buddhist halls and rooms. It is the only one of this kind in the world. The King of Immateriality is the Buddha of the Baofeng Temple and Mianshan Mountain. Born in the Tang Dynasty, his common name is Tian Zhichao. In the center of the main hall of the Baofeng Temple is the tomb of the clay-covered body of Tian Zhichao. Some rare treasures are displayed in the temple, such as the Kaiyuan Tablet, a long antithetical couplet by Fushan and the plaque bestowed by Emperor Guang Xu of Qing Dynasty.

Five Dragons' Traces

Wulongchan, or Five Dragons' Trace, is named after the five gullies and five dragons that, legend has it, listened to a sermon by the King of Immateriality then flew into the sky and left gullies in the cliff. The main tourist attractions include the Tongtianyunqu (Cloud thoroughfare leading to heaven), Lingyin Terrace of the King of Immateriality, Five Dragon Pine, Shangfang Academy and Zhengguo Temple. The Zhengguo Temple has three halls which hold 12 tombs of eminent monks of the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties. Though a thousand years have elapsed, their skeletons are well preserved. They are important cultural relics for the study of the history and culture of Mianshan Mountain.

QiXian Canyon

Situated in the Mianshan Mountain Scenic Zone in Jiexiu City, Shanxi Province, the Qixian Canyon (Canyon for Wise People) is a narrow, winding and rising gully with suspension bridges and hanging waterfalls. Flanked by towering peaks and oddly-shaped rocks, this gully is deep and quiet, like a paradise on earth with fascinating landscapes. When going up from the entrance of the canyon, tourists need to climb more than 10 ancient scaling ladders. On the way, tourists can see wild grasses and flowers, murmuring springs and hanging waterfalls, and cliff-side inscriptions by our forefathers.

Lord Jie Ridge

The Lord Jie Ridge is the place where Jie Zitui, famous for his noble character and sterling integrity, lived in seclusion and was later burned to death. The main tourist attractions in the area include the Stele Forest in Mianshan Mountain, Cypress Ridge and the tomb of Jie Zitui. Legend has it that in the Spring and Autumn period, the state of Jin suffered lots of distresses. Prince Chong Er (697-628 B.C.) was forced to escape from the state of Jin. One day, Chong Er was so hungry that he was unable to go on. Jie Zitui, a loyal official, cut a piece of flesh from his thigh, prepared a bowl of soup with the flesh and some wild fruits to Chong Er as food. It is the famous story of "cutting off a piece of flesh from the thigh to feed the emperor" in Chinese history.

Shuitao Gully

The Shuitao Gully, or Water Billowing Gully, has the most beautiful scenery in Mianshan Mountain. Situated in the Shuitao Gully Natural Scenic Zone in the rear part of Mianshan Mountain, the Shuitao Gully boasts beautiful waterside scenery within 10 miles, which is as beautiful as a 10-mile scroll painted with Chinese landscapes. Water flows down from the hillock, goes through dense forests and forms several dozen waterfalls in different sizes. Some waterfalls fall down directly, full of power and grandeur. Others gently dance by the precipices and the even more are tucked away in the green forests. The waterfalls are laid out like a maze. The sun is screened off by the shade of birch poplars and willow trees beside the waterfalls, and kingfishers skip over the water surface quickly.

Guteng Valley

The Guteng Valley, or Ancient Vine Valley, is also known as the Stream Gully and is a natural ecological scenic zone. On the cliffs that flank the King Vine Valley are lush shrubbery and vines with arbors. Some small streams murmur in the valley. Because of a large drop in elevation, a group of cascades are formed. By the stream lies a path leading to the mountaintop. On both sides of the mountain path are tall shrubberies, flowers and some traditional herbal medicines. The trees in the Guteng Valley are in odd shapes. More often than not, tourists can see pheasants, squirrels and other small animals. But the most fascinating in the valley are the vine plants. In the valley, primitive vines, which are rarely seen in North China, can be seen everywhere. The ancient trees interwoven by vines look like umbrellas, houses, caves, bridges, nets and palaces, showing a great variety of shapes and postures. Various types of ancient rattans and vines, wild Chinese gooseberries, mountain grapes, chariots and walnuts, wild haws and mountain pears can be seen throughout the valley. Moreover, many rare stone carving relics are scattered around the valley.
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