Within easy reach of the city of Xi’an lies the famed Huashan Mountain. It is revered as one of China’s five most sacred mountains. The mountain derives its name from the Chinese word ‘hua’ which means ‘flower’; it is said that the five major peaks of the mountain resemble a flower in bloom. In addition to its lofty peaks the mountain is well known for its breathtaking landscapes, massive crags and steep narrow pathways. The mount is identified as a holy site for Taoists, with the numerous temples located here having attracted the presence of emperors in years past.
The visitor will find the Jade Spring Temple (Yuquan Yuan) situated at the foot of the mount. It is one of China’s most significant Taoist temples with architectural motifs reminiscent of South China’s classical gardens. It features several pavilions with a pond at its centre. Highlights at this site include the Wuyou Pavilion and the boulder known as ‘Huixin Rock’. Alongside this rock the visitor will encounter the ‘Qianchi Zhuang’, a set of steep steps which are the primary means of pedestrian access to the upper reaches of the mountain.
Further steep paths lead the visitor to the spectacular North Peak, which is called Cloud Terrace Peak as it seemingly stands among the clouds, with sheer drops on all sides. The peak stands an imposing 1,614 metres high, but in its lower reaches luxurious vegetation may be seen, making it a delightful spot for a rest.
Visitors should make it a point to visit Jade Maiden Peak which contains a renowned Taoist temple. According to tradition a maiden from a noble family fell in love with a rustic youth, gave up her privileged life and spent the rest of her life with her lover at this location.
Another highlight is the Green Cloud Temple, which is also called the Holy Mother Temple containing statues of the Three Sacred Mothers. Here the visitor will see a huge stone which appears to be being cut with an axe. A massive axe referred to by legend may also be seen.