A Glimpse of Anhui Province

With an area of 139,000 square km and a population of 60 million, Anhui Province is richly endowed with tourist resources. The province excels in both natural scenery and human civilization. Among its scenic highlights are the Huangshan Mountain and the Jiuhuashan Mountain. The former is world-renowned for its exotic beauty, and the latter is one of the four famous Buddhist mountains in China. Listed as the Taoist holy land, the Qiyunshan Mountain attracts visitors with its unique terrain and numerous cliff inscriptions. Langyashan Hill’s fame came about from an article written by an eminent writer of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), while the ancient Tianzhushan Mountain features rich botanical and animal resources. Moreover, the province is the origin to many famous rivers such as the picturesque Xin’anjiang River, the compelling Chaohu Lake and the mild Taipinghu Lake.

In addition to its natural scenic beauty, Anhui has a rich cultural heritage as well. It has three historical and cultural cities at the state level and has been the birthplace of countless celebrities over the centuries. The historical places, Buddhist architecture, ancient construction, horticulture and folk ways are all worth seeing.

The first stop recommended in Anhui is Hefei, where you can buy a coach ticket directly to Jiuhuashan Mountain. As the coach may pause in crude places, do remember to buy a bottle of mineral water and some snacks before you board the coach. As the coach departs, tourists can enjoy the rustic scenery with typical southern features. During the coach tour, there are two spots not to be neglected. One is the Tongling Yangtze River Viaduct, which hovers over the river like a white swallow. The other is the ancient tomb of Teng Zijing, a celebrity of the Song Dynasty. The tomb is shrouded in unsullied wilderness, which is hard to find in modern life.

Upon arriving at the foot of Jiuhuashan Mountain, you will soon be captivated by its peculiar rocks and stones, peaks hidden in wandering clouds, waterfalls and springs, and thriving pines and bamboo.

From the Yangtze River, Jiuhuashan Mountain looks like a lotus newly-emerged from the water; from Jiuhuashan Mountain, the Yangtze River turns into a white ribbon.

Known as the Buddhist holy land, the mountain has some 83 temples. A 99-meter bronze Buddha statue is being built near the Dajueqiao Bridge. Few tourists hesitate to spend 30 yuan to buy a bowl indicating longevity at the Longevity Hall. In the twilight, those who are lucky may also see the rare auspicious cloud in the shape of a flying red phoenix.

Jiuhuashan Mountain can be divided into six main parts, and altogether may take a day or two to see. As for souvenirs, little Buddhist sculptures are the first choice. Bamboo shoots and mushrooms are also recommended.

The coach at the foot of the Jiuhuashan Mountain can take you directly to Tunxi, a prototype of the Anhui civilization. With gray tiles, white-painted walls and stone-paved streets, the town of Tunxi has been given the name “Oriental Ancient Rome” by oversea visitors.

Tunxi is where you can purchase ink, ink-slabs, carvings and Maofeng Tea. It takes some effort for you to make up your mind about which to choose among numerous brick, stone, wood and bamboo carvings. Robust tourists may appreciate the night view and folk ways of the town, and taste the various snacks from the booth on the street. As there are more than 300 scenic spots in Tunxi, it is hard to exhaust them all and a little planning is necessary. Among all these scenic spots, Yansi is a must-see. The Scholar’s Gatetower, the ancient lanes of Hongqiao, the Ancient House Pavilion and the Green-winding Pavilion will provide a basic understanding of the ancient architecture in Anhui Province. And remember to reward yourself with delicious Anhui-style dishes.

From Tunxi to the famous Huangshan Mountain, it takes no more than a two-hour ride by bus. The Huangshan Scenic Area has eight scenic spots and covers an area of 154 square km. Its three main peaks, the Lotus Peak, the Brightness Peak and the Tiandu Peak are all above 1,800 meters high. The cable car brings you up to the foot of Lotus Peak within 20 minutes.

Young and vigorous tourists should take a shot at the craggy Tiandu Peak. Despite its extremely perilous terrain, the Jiyubei spot on Tiandu Peak is always cramped with pairs of lovers. Each couple brings a pair of locks and then locks them together on the railings, throwing the keys into the abyss. It is a kind of vow taken by lovers that nothing can separate them.

Other scenic spots include the Welcoming Pine, the Yuping Pavilion, the 100-step ladder and the Paiyun Pavilion. And you should never miss the splendid sunrise over Huangshan Mountain.

Overlooking the Hengjiang River, Qiyunshan Mountain is widely known as the Taoist holy land. Blanketed in thick mist, it looks like a mirage beyond reach, even though its altitude is only 585 meters. As the cable car ascends, the mist disperses, revealing the white ribbon-like Hengjiang River. Skirting the mountain, the river forms an S shape at the foot of the mountain, coinciding with a Taoist pattern. When you step out of the cable car and walk ahead, you will notice another apocalyptic piece of scenery–a stone gate made of a colossal stone held up by a huge slab. Inside the stone gate are cliff inscriptions and stone tablets carved with calligraphy of ancient celebrities.

In the embrace of four peaks, the site of the Taisugong Temple relics is a main scenic spot of Qiyunshan Mountain. The left-side lion-shaped peak and the right-side elephant-shaped peak serve as the guards to the main peak in the middle. The fourth peak looks exactly like an incense burner. On top of the peak grow the nanmu woods; no one knows where their seeds come from. When the nanmu trees come into blossom, the fragrance is carried afar, and the peak turns into a true incense burner.

If time permits, you can also take the bamboo raft down the Hengjiang River. The clear water makes the pebbles and fishes easily seen underwater, and occasionally droves of wild ducks come into your sight. Few tourists can resist the temptation of this rustic scene.

After visiting the Qiyunshan Mountain, tourists may return to the capital, Hefei. Thickly covered with trees and lawns, Hefei was the hometown of Bao Zheng, a judicious official known for his stressing the dignity of law in the Song Dynasty. Tombs and shrines in commemoration of Bao Zheng can be found here. Hefei is also the ancient battlefield of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265), leaving many places of historical interest. The Dashushan Mountain and the Wild Animal Park won’t disappoint you either. With the speedy economic development, new places of interest, such as the Pearl Square, the Wulidun Viaduct and the High-Tech Zone, emerge before tourists’ eyes.

Chaohu Lake is known for its idyllic scenery and ancient civilization. Apart from its two shoals, three hot springs, four national parks and five famous caves, the lake area also has many other historical spots.

Visitors who are interested in the defense system in ancient China are recommended to visit Shouxian, a county with rough terrain and a magnificent aura. About 10 meters in height, 4 meters in thickness and 7,000 meters in circumference, the ancient city wall in Shouxian is well preserved.

Located in Anqing, Anhui Province, the Tianzhushan (Pivot of the Sky) Mountain derives its name from the high and piercing shape of its main peak. The mountain possesses a great variety of scenic spots like curious rocks, springs and waterfalls, canyons and caves, and precarious passes. Many rare types of botany and animals can be detected here, including the giant salamander and the Chinese larch.

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