Wudang Mountain, in the northwest of Hubei province, is perhaps the best known of China’s Taoist holy mountains. Wudang Mountain is not only famous for its profound traditional Taoist culture, but also renowned for its natural and cultural scenery, magnificent ancient buildings, as well as Wudang kungfu.
Covering an area of 312 square kilometers, Wudang scenic area embraces a full range of both cultural and natural scenes such as 3 pools, 9 springs, 9 wells, 9 platforms, 10 ponds, 10 stones, 11 caves, 24 streams，36 cliffs and 72 peaks. Tianzhu Peak, the main peak, which is 1,612 m above sea level, is just like a column supporting the sky.
Wudang Mountain is beautiful all year round. In spring, the area is filled with flowers; in summer, the mist envelops; in autumn, oranges turn yellow and the smell of sweet-scented osmanthus fills the air; in winter, heavy snow covers the mountain like a white blanket.
The Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains was listed as a World Cultural Heritage property in December 1994. There are buildings of every dynasty since the Tang Dynasty, but most of the ancient buildings in the mountains were built in the Ming Dynasty, when Emperor Zhudi sent some 300,000 workers, spending 12 years to finish the sacred site.
Absorbing the majesty of the mountains and the peculiarity of the caves to the last detail, buildings on the Wudang Mountains are invariably set on cliffs or in caves and blended with surrounding forests, stones and streams. A 70km-long sacred path, paved with green pebbles, stretches from the hill foot to Tianzhu Peak, and is flanked by 8 palaces, 2 monasteries, 36 nunneries, 7 cliff temples, 39 bridges and 13 pavilions. Its grand scale, exquisite craftwork as well as arduous construction process are very rare all around the world.
Besides the ancient buildings, the Wudang Mountain preserves over 7,400 precious cultural relics, mostly Taoist, which has led to its being described as “the treasury of Taoist cultural relics”.
Wudang kungfu enjoys great popularity both in China and abroad. Whenever Kungfu is mentioned, it brings to mind Zhang Sanfeng, the initiator of Wudang Quan. According to the legend, his idea of Wudang Quan was rooted in a fight between a pied magpie and a snake. Wudang Quan advocated the cultivation of one’s morality and fostering one’s nature. It’s the main principle of Chinese martial arts. Taoist practitioners cultivate themselves while learning martial arts for the purpose of self-defense and health-maintenance.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, an action film directed by Ang Lee in 2000, attracted students of kungfu to travel from all over the world to study with the masters at Wudang. Lucky visitors may be able to see masters practicing on the roofs of halls and on the mountain.