Taishan lies in Tai’an county in the middle of the Shandong Province, encompassing an area of 426 square kilometers. Its summit, 1546 meters above sea level, has a vertical height of over 1200 meters above the ground. Magnificent ancient architecture and historical and cultural sites can be found over hill and dale, and along the mountain passages. UNESCO has listed Mount Tai as ” A World Cultural and Natural Heritage.”
The temple of Taishan:
With the Hall of Celestial Gifts as its main structure and axis, and encircled by a corridor, it covers an area of 96,500 square meters.
With the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower as its two wings facing each other, the crenellated Temple has yellow glazed-tile roofs and red ridges, and a pavilion at each of the four corners. Old sky-piercing cypresses and steles spread all over the place, in addition to the cultural relics like the cast-iron pavilions and towers.
The Hall of Celestial Gifts:
The yellow glazed-tile roofed and double-eaved Hall, 22.3 meters in height, consists of 9 rooms stretching 48.7 meters long east to west, and 19.8 meters wide. It has a stone terrace with carved parapets. The mural on the wall of the Hall measuring 62 meters long and 3.3 meters high, depicts the God of Mount Tai on an inspection tour. The eastern part of the mural illustrates ” Setting Off on the Tour”, while the western part, “Returning to His Palace”. The main contents are descriptions of the ceremonious processions on the tour, interspersed with rare and precious birds and animals, while mountains, rivers, forests, towers, pavilions, halls are used as backgrounds. The mural is grand in scale, well-knit in layout and smooth in brush work.
The Gate to Mid-heaven:
It’s located at the mid-point of the mountain path to the top, where one has a splendid view of the vertical steps to the summit, the Wen River like a ribbon in the south, Zhongxi Mountain in the east, and the Fenghuang Ridge in the west.
In barely one kilometer length, the perilous trail has to elevate itself to a vertical height of 400 meters. One has to scale 1594 stone steps to reach Shengxianfang (Archway) meaning a person passing through the Archway will immediately become a celestial being. Beyond the Archway, the passage winds along craggy cliffs and grotesque rocks. Ascending to the South Gate to Heaven, one sees the Eighteen Bends merely as a vertical stairway hanging in the air, upon which the climbers are moving up like little ants. It’s a model in Chinese architecture on the mountains, utilizing scenery to enhance their brilliancy.