Category: Taishan.

World Heritage Site #437 :: Mount Taishan

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taishan world heritage #437

The sacred Mount Tai (‘shan’ means ‘mountain’) was the object of an imperial cult for nearly 2,000 years, and the artistic masterpieces found there are in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. It has always been a source of inspiration for Chinese artists and scholars and symbolizes ancient Chinese civilizations and beliefs.

State property: China
Location: Spanning the cities of Tai’an and Jinan in central Shandong Province with the main peak in the city of Tai’an
GPS: N36 16 0.012, E117 5 60
Date of Inscription: 1987
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(v)(vi)(vii)
Property : 25,000 ha

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Mount Taishan was listed in the world heritage list based on these below justifications.

Criterion (i): The landscape of Mount Taishan as one of the five sacred mountains in traditional China is a unique artistic achievement. The eleven gates, the fourteen archways, the fourteen kiosks and the four pavilions, which are scattered along the flight of 6,660 steps that rise between heaven and earth are not just simple architectural achievements, but are the final touches by human hands to the elements of a splendid natural site. Its very size places this scenic landscape, which has evolved over a period of 2,000 years, among the most grandiose human achievements of all time.

Criterion (ii): Mount Taishan, the most venerated of mountains in China, exerted for 2,000 years multiple and wide-ranging influence on the development of art.  The Temple to the God of Taishan and the Azure Cloud Temple, dedicated to his daughter, the Goddess Laomu, were prototypes built on Mount Taishan and subsequently used as models during the imperial period, throughout all of China. The conceptual model of a mountain bearing the traces of man, where graceful structures – bridges, gateways or pavilions – contrast with sombre pine forests or frightening rocky cliffs, could only have originated by referring to Mount Taishan.

Criterion (iii): Mount Taishan bears unique testimony to the lost civilizations of imperial China, most particularly in relation to their religions, arts and letters.  For 2,000 years it was one of the principal places of worship where the emperor paid homage to Heaven and Earth in the Fengshan sacrifices, conducted by the Son of Heaven himself.  Since the time of the Han Dynasty, it has been one of the five mountains symbolizing the Celestial Kingdom, in accordance with the Doctrine of the Five Elements, a fundamental premise in Chinese thought.

Criterion (iv): Mount Taishan is an outstanding example of a sacred mountain. The Palace of Heavenly Blessings (1,008 CE), located inside the Temple to the God of Taishan, is one of the three oldest palaces in China.  The Azure Cloud Temple, also constructed under the Song Dynasty, is typical of a mountain architectural complex in the arrangement of its courtyards and buildings,  and the Divine Rock Temple with its Thousand Buddhas Hall are  outstanding and complete examples of great temples. Together they illustrate the cultural and religious aspects of the Tang and Song periods.

Criterion (v): The natural and cultural ensemble of Mount Taishan comprises a traditional human settlement in the form of a cult centre dating from the Neolithic (Dawenkou) period, which has become an outstanding example of traditional culture under the impact of irreversible change wrought by increasing visitation and tourism.

Criterion (vi): Mount Taishan is directly and tangibly associated with events whose importance in universal history cannot be minimized. These include the emergence of Confucianism, the unification of China, and the appearance of writing and literature in China.

Criterion (vii): With nearly 3 billion years of natural evolution, Mount Taishan was formed through complicated geological and biological processes, which resulted in a gigantic rock mass covered with dense vegetation towering over the surrounding plateau. This dramatic and majestic mountain is an outstanding combination of a beautiful natural landscape dominated by the cultural impacts of thousands of years of human use.

Category: Taishan