Located on the west bank of Xiang River in Changsha, Hunan Province, Mount Yuelu Scenic Area, or called Mount Yuelu & Orange Isle Scenic Area, has four core parts, including Mount Lu Scenic Area, Orange Isle Scenic Area, Yuelu Academy, and Xinmin Institute.
Mount Lu Scenic Area (Lushan Scenic Area)
As an extended part of the mysterious Mount Hengshan range, Mount Yuelu covers a total area of 8 square kilometers with its highest peak 300 meters above sea level. There are also many peaks with exuberant trees and reclusive and precipitous mountain streams. Except for the beautiful natural sceneries, Mount Yuelu is also dotted with lots of famous places and ancient relics since Western Han Dynasty (206BC-25AD), such as Aiwan Pavilion, Lushan Temple, Wangxiang Pavilion, Lushan Temple Stele of Liyong (678AD-747AD) in Tang Dynasty, and the Monument to King Yu carved in Song Dynasty, etc. Among the evergreen pines and cypresses also lie Huangxing’s Tomb which is under state protection, and the Tombs of Cai E and Chen Tianhua, who were both outstanding revolutionists.
- Aiwan Pavilion
As one of the four well-known pavilions in China, Aiwan pavilion is a pavilion of ancient style built in the Qing Dynasty. It is square in form with gilt columns and painted red inside. There are four external beams made with complete stripes of granite. It is constructed with double eaves on top with four slopes. And a spiking treasure bottle is fitted atop. Its four corners stretch away upward, covered with greenish glazed tiles.
- Lushan Temple
The Lushan Temple is also known as Luyuan or Huiguang Temple. It is the earliest Buddhist temple in Changsha built during the western Jin Dynasty, with a history of more than 1,700 years. Originally, it had a main hall and a rear hall, however, nowadays only the rear hall remains there. The arch gate of the temple is built in the local architectural style and upon it there is a sign of “Ancient Lushan Temple”. It is roofed with yellowish tiles and supported by red columns.
- Lushan Temple Stele
The Lushan Temple Stele, a black stone with a round top, is nearly 3 metes high and more than 1 meter wide. It is a well-known stele of ancient China. Four Chinese characters of “Lu Shan Si Bei” (literally Lushan Temple Stele) were inscribed on it and the inscription on it contains 1,419 Chinese characters which recorded the origins and the development of Buddhist doctrine preaching activities through the period between the establishment of the temple in the Jin Dynasty (265AD-420AD) and the setup of the stele in the Tang Dynasty (618AD-907AD). The Lushan Temple Stele is perfect in literary talent, calligraphy and engraving, hence it is also called Sanjue Stele (Stele with Three Superb Works).
- Monument to King Yu
The Monument to King Yu (or called Yuwang Tablet) stands on a stunningly purple rock wall of the peak of Mount Yuelu, facing east. The monument is 1.84 meters high and 1.4 meters wide, recording the story of King Yu controlling water. On the monument, there are 9 lines, 9 words to each line, except for the last line, which has 4 words less, giving 77 words in all. The words look like polliwog, different from bone script, and are very difficult to understand. It is said that it was perhaps a symbol of Daoism, or even fabricated by a Taoist. There are ten monuments to King Yu in China, and all are supposedly a duplication of the monument at Mount Yuelu.
Yuelu Academy, one of the four greatest academies in ancient China, is situated at the foot of the Mount Yuelu on the campus of Hunan University. In Song Dynasty (969AD – 1279AD), Zhu Xi and Zhang Shi, famous scholars of Neo-Confucianism delivered lectures here, during which academy reached its heyday. Yuelu Academy was a place for lecturing, book collecting and rituals, also an important book-collecting center in China. The academy mainly includes Wenchang Pavilion, Yushu Library and Xiangshui School Academy, etc. Survived for thousand years, Yuelu Academy has been known as Millennium Academy.
Orange Isle Park
The Orange Isle Park is a long and narrow island in the Xiangjiang River and known for its delicious oranges. Orange Isle Park is the place where the ancient people appreciated “Snow by River at Dusk” – one of the eight scenic spots “Eight Grand Sights in Hunan”. The main scenic spots in the park include Poem Tablet, Orange Praising Pavilion and a square of sculptures named “Shui Zhu Chen Fu” (who dominates the ups and downs in China?).