Shandong Province is located in the lower reaches of the Yellow River in east China and its capital city is Jinan, which is famous as a "City of Springs". Shandong is where China's most revered thinkers and educators--Confucius was born and also one of the birthplaces of Chinese ancient culture. Mountain Tai and the Confucius sites in Qufu have been included in UNESCO's world heritage list.
Shandong Province is in the middle east of China's mainland. Central Shandong is mountainous, and there are also hills in the eastern and southern parts. The highest point of the province is Mount Tai in the middle, 1,545 meters above sea level. The Yellow River, enters the province in the southwest, crosses more than 610 km, and then flows into the Bohai Sea in the northeast.
Shandong is located in the warm temperate zone with semi-tropical monsoon climate. The annual average temperature is 11 degrees centigrade to 14 degrees centigrade.
Famous tourism cities include Qingdao, Qufu, Tai'an Yantai and Ji'nan. There are also lots of famous historical sites worth a visit: Mountain Tai, Confucius Temple, Neolithic Sites, Penglai and Laoshan.
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Mt. Taishan came into existence 27 million years earlier than the Ape-Man. According to a legend, after the death of Bangu, the creator of the world, his body changed into all kinds of things on the earth, and his head turned into Mt. Taishan. With a height of 1,545 m, the Mt. Taishan is the third highest among the five sacred mountains in China. However Mt. Taishan is famous for its divinity instead of its height and it is the most renowned mountain in China.
According to the historic record, 72 emperors in history once went to Mt. Taishan to show their respect and bestow honorific titles to the mountain. It was side that Emperor Wu in Han dynasty has been to Mt. Taishan for seven times.
The sacrificial and climbing activities made by emperors and kings left behind enormous historic legacy, which cannot be achieved by the other mountains. In Dai Temple, the trees planted by Emperor Wu of Han dynasty still remain green and prosperous, and the House Returning Ridge, which is characterized by steep and dangerous slope, can still been seen. Lying on the Yunbu Bridge, the five ancient pines, which were bestowed honorific titles by the first emperor of Qin dynasty are still sturdy. On the path of 18 bends, visitors can see many poems and songs created by famous poets and scholars, such as Libai, Dufu.
The trip to Mt. Taishan in great extent like reading a big history book, which mixes past with present, the old with new.
Nature has given Mt. Taishan many wonderful sceneries, in which the sunrise from the sea is the most attractive one. Mt. Taishan only shows her charm to brave people. Only those, who can climb up the summit, have the chance to fully enjoy the beautiful view.
On the summit, the clouds gather and turn into a sea of clouds, surging forward wave upon wave, it is the time of the sunrise. Slowly and gently, the sun rises over the sea, spreads its brilliance on the earth. And, soon, with a shy and smiling face, the sun jumps out high above the horizon, as if a maiden who just finished her bathing. Quickly, the sea, the mountain, the people all covered by a thin red silk.
Mt Taishan, standing high by the East China Sea, is regarded as the soul of the Chinese people. And also was regarded as the first of the five sacred mountains in ancient China for its majesty and beauty. In December 1987 the Mt. Taishan was listed in the Chronology of Recognition of World Heritages in China.
The temple was originally built for memorial purpose and in the later years it gradually mushroomed into a complex, which was one-fifth in the size of Qufu. Its huge extensions in the Ming and Qing dynasties are mainly responsible for its present scale. It is laid on a north-south axis, and is over l km long. There are over 1000 steles in the temple grounds, with inscriptions from Han to Qing times in them - the largest such collections in China. The tablets at Qufu are noted for their fine calligraphy.
In earlier dynasties, women were not allowed to enter the temple. The rule was broken by Emperor Wuzong of the Yuan dynasty, who brought his sister to the temple, and this event was recorded on the tablet.
About halfway along the north-south axis is the Great Pavilion of the Constellation of Scholars. Built in 1190, it was designed in Jin dynasty wooden structure with a triple-roofed. Further north through Dacheng Gate and to the right is a juniper, which was said planted by Confucius. The small Xingtan Pavilion up from that commemorates the spot where Confucius is said to have taught under the shade of an apricot tree.
The core of the Confucian complex is Dacheng Hall; the present building was rebuilt in 1724. Under the permission of the reigning sovereign, glazed yellow tiling and special stones were used in the Confucius Temple. The craftspeople carved the dragon-coiled columns so expertly that they had to be covered with red silk when Emperor Qianlong came to Qufu lest he felt that the Forbidden City's Taihe Hall paled in comparison. The hall was used for unusual rites in honor of Confucius. At the beginning of the seasons and on the great sage's birthday, booming lengthy scholastic rums, bronze bells and musical stones were widely used in those occasions. Now, the rare collection of musical instruments is displayed, but the massive stone statue of the bearded philosopher has disappeared - presumably a casualty of the Red Guards.
At the extreme northern end of the Confucius Temple is Shengjidian, a memorial hall containing a series of stones engraved with scenes from the life of Confucius and, tales about him. They are copies of an older set that dates back to 1592.
In the eastern compound of the Confucius Temple, behind the Hall of Poetry & Rites, is Confucius' Well (a Song-Ming reconstruction) and the Lu Wall, where the ninth descendant of Confucius hid the sacred texts during the anti-Confucian persecutions of Emperor Qin Shihuang.
In Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), with the discovering of some books, a lengthy scholastic dispute between those who followed a reconstructive version of the last books, and those who supported the teachings in the rediscovered was appeared.