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Qiyun is located at the foot of the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan). It is only 60 kilometers away from the scenic areas of the Yellow Mountains.
Mt. Qiyun has been laurelled as a scenic area of National Significance, National Geopark, National Forest Park, and one of the four Taoist Shrines. Visiting this mountain offers people more than they expect, from a gorgeous rurality to the Taoist culture of long standing, simply a combination of cultural highlights and natural landscape.
Mt. Qiyun used to be called White Mountain. It got this name from the description, "a rock thrusts high into the sky, reaching straight to the clouds, in parallel as the blue clouds".
Actually, the mountain is not high at all, compared with other famous mountains in Anhui. The highest peak of the mountain is only 585 meters above sea level. Blanketed in thick mist, it looks like a mirage beyond reach.
The geological structure in Mt. Qiyun is known as "Geomorphology of Rosy Cloud." All the peaks, rocks, grottoes and sands are as red as cinnabar, and as impressive as the rosy sunglow.
The scenic spot of Mt. Qiyun covers an area of about 110 square kilometers. The scenery in Mt. Qiyun consists of Yuehua Street, the Tower over Tower, Cloudy Crag Lake, Southern Mountain, and Heng River.
All the five scenic spots are of different feature and style. The poetic description of the scenery of the mountain is read as follows: "The steeply cliff highlights the astonishing apex, the precipitous cliff is dotted with serene caves, silver waterfall rushes down from the top of the crag, and the miraculous scenery is changeable all over the time." This is simply an enjoyable landscape painting. On this supernaturally beautiful painting are 36 peaks and 72 strangely-shaped cliffs. Many serene caves and gullies, and ponds are hidden here and there.
Among them, Censer Peak is the most eminent one. Heavenly Bridge Crag is a wonderful rock formation that excels the nature. The Fairy Cave is so secluded that it simply is a mystery for travelers. Cloudy Crag Lake appears to be of comeliness and ease. Pearl Curtain Fount throws out gold and jade.
All the scenic areas bring the travelers a sense of ecstasy. Qianlong, the fourth emperor who enjoys a long reign in the Qing Dynasty, once described Mountain Qiyun as "no place of interest under the Heaven can compete the beauty of Mt. Qiyun, and it is the first mountain in the southern part of China".
Mt. Qiyun deserves all the possibly high praise. It is reputed for its seclusion, magnificence, uniqueness and adventurousness. In addition to the brilliant scenery that has been favorably bestowed by the Nature, the mountain has many cultural connotations. It has an enriched cultural heritage.
As early as in the first years of the Tang Dynasty, Taoism was introduced to Mountain Qiyun. With great efforts through generations in the Song and Yuan Dynasty, Taoism was basically established as an orthodox religion in Mt. Qiyun.
In the period of the Jiajing and Wanli reign of the Qing Dynasty, a Jiangxi Taoist priest, considered as the great grand son of Zhang Zhenren, roamed to Mt. Qiyun and lived in seclusion at the cliffs. He helped to regulate the Taoist activities in Mt. Qiyun and constructed temples.
Since then, the burning incense began to get stronger and stronger. Taoist activities on Mt. Qiyun became more and more flourishing. This marked the beginning of Mt. Qiyun served as the Taoist center in the areas beyond the southern bank of the Yangtze River.
Many distinguished personages in history were attracted by its unique beauty and came to visit. They left thousands of stone tablets and stele, of which about 537 still exist.
There are plenty of tablet inscriptions and stone inscriptions on Mt. Qiyun. They amounted to over 1,400 throughout history, but were corroded by nature and destroyed by man over the years.
The fairly early stone inscriptions include those of the Daguan era of the Northern Song dynasty and the Shaoxi era of the Southern Song dynasty, and about 80 per cent are those of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
These tablet inscriptions and stone inscriptions are of various styles, including all the calligraphic styles. They are. of great calligraphic value. Among them, the inscriptions "heavenly magical beautifulness", "marvelous prominent peak" and "wonder from time immemorial" are so grand that they are acclaimed as the acme of perfection.