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Yellow Mountain   Yellow Mountain
Being characterized by the four wonders, namely, odd-shaped pines, craggy rocks, sea of clouds and crystal-clear hot springs, Huangshan Mountain in east China's Anhui province is one of China's top ten best scenic spots. It covers an area of 1200 square kilometers (463 square miles) with a well developed scenic area of 154 square kilometers (60 square miles). Mount Huangshan is celebrated for having all the significant features of mountain scenery. Widely recognized as the No. 1 Mountain under heaven. It features numerous imposing peaks (77 exceed an titleitude of 1,000m), forests of stone pillars and evergreen sturdy pines; other features include grotesquely-shaped rocks (many of which are individually named, such as "flying-over rock"), waterfalls, pools and hot springs. Because of its mists and clouds, natural scenery in the area changes beyond prediction. Xu Xiake, a noted Chinese geologist and traveler in the Ming Dynasty, praised Huangshan Mountain as the best of all mountains.

Mount Huangshan was declared a World Natural and Cultural Heritage by UNESCO Heritage Committee. Mount Huangshan extends 40 kilometers from south to north and 30 kilometers from east to west, covering an area of 1200 square kilometers, the highlights of which occupy 154 square kilometers.

Huangshan Mountain is a marvel: within an area of 154 square kilometers there is a crowd of peaks, 72 of which have names indicating the shapes they resemble. Lotus, Brightness Top and Celestial Capital are the three major ones, all rising above 1,800 meters above sea level. The mountains are a body of granite, often with vertical joints. Erosion and fracture contributed to shape the rocks into huge columns, giving rise to lofty peaks and deep ravines. When it is cloudy the pinnacles loom in mists as if they were illusionary, while the sun is shining they unfold in all their majesty and splendor. Huangshan Mountain changes its color and appearance with the titleernation of seasons. In spring blooming flowers decorate the slopes in a riot of color and fill the valleys with fragrance; in summer you see verdure peaks rising one upon another and hear springs gurgling merrily. Autumn dresses the mountains in red and purple as maples and some other trees are blazing-red; winter turns them into a world of frost and ice with silver boughs and rocks everywhere. Here in Huangshan, pines and rocks are intimately involved with each other, almost every rock has a pine tree growing out of the crevice, and every tree has tortuous and gnarled roots and branches. The still sea of snow-white cloud can suddenly begin to roll and toss, rise or fall, gather or disperse while the peaks emerge and disappear in the clouds like isles in the ocean.

So from ancient times it has been frequented by tourists seeking their mystery and admiring their scenery. They come to the conclusion that the fantastic pines, the grotesque rocks, the sea of clouds and the hot springs are the four major attractions of the Yellow Mountains. As a matter of fact there are marvels almost everywhere, especially in the following scenic areas: Wenquan (Hot Spring), Yupinglou (Jade Screen Pavilion), Xihai ( West Sea), Beihai (North Sea), Yungusi (Cloud Valley Temple) and Songgu'an (Pine Valley Nunnery).

There is plentiful rainfall in Huangshan Mountain. Therefore there are thick forests. Owing to the peculiar terrain, the Huangshan Mountain's climate is marked by a vertical change, and the vertical distribution of vegetation is also distinctive: plants on the summit, on the middle levels and at the foot belong to the frigid, temperate and subtropical zones respectively. There are more than 1500 species of plants, of which trees comprise one third. So the Huangshan Mountain occupies an important place in China's botanical research. Here you will find century-old pines, firs, gingkgoes, actinidia, Chinese torreyas and camphor woods, remnants of the glacial era. A number of trees are celebrated on account of their age, grotesque shape, or precipitously perched position. Mount Huangshan abound in flowering plants; many of them are rare ones, such as Huangshan Rhododendron, magnolia as well as azalea, camellia, plum, lily, orchid, and so on. It has a rich store of medicinal herbs; more than 300 kinds are found here; the notable ones being glossy ganoderma ginseng, Chinese gold thread rhizome and Chinese cinnamon. Maofeng tea of Huangshan is well known at home and abroad.

Huangshan Mountains also provide the natural habitat for a wide variety of fauna. Among the animals there are monkeys, goats, deer, pangolin and squirrels. There are rare birds such as the red-billed leiothrix, the silver pheasant, the octave-tone bird and the oriole, which are all good singers. The red-billed leiothrix (called "love birds" in Chinese) are so lovely that they have become favorites of foreign tourists and are exported by pairs. Besides, chukkar (stone frog) from the streams is good to make delicious dishes with.

Mt. Huangshan's climate is mild and humid, neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter, the temperature is agreeable all the year round. It is cool in summer, averaging 70ºF at the North Sea Area (1,630 meters above sea level) and 80ºF at Hot Spring Area (630 meters above sea level) in July (the hottest month). As clouds often shut out the sun, hot weather never stays long, and this makes Yellow Mountains an ideal summer resort. Mt. Huangshan lies in subtropical zones, so it's not quite cold in winter, at least, not so cold as some people expected. The temperature ranges from 25ºF to 40ºF, but it's enough to result in a fantastic snow scenery and a silver world with pines and precipitous peaks covered with snow and decorated with icicles.

Today Mt. Huangshan has become a world-famous tourist attraction. With its convenient facilities: three cable ways, one five-star hotel, three four-star hotels and four three-star hotels on the top, all the paths paved with flat stones, it lures millions of visitors both from home and abroad. Seeing is believing. Welcome to Mount Huangshan.

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