Looking down to the mountain's base from the Tiantai Nunnery.
|Elevation||1,512 m (4,961 ft)|
North China Plain
|Easiest route||Cable Car|
"Mount Song" in Chinese characters
Mount Song (Chinese: 嵩山; pinyin: Sōng shān) is a mountain in central China's Henan Province, along the southern bank of the Yellow River, that is known as the central mountain of the Five Great Mountains of China. Its summit is 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level.
Songshan is made up of several mountains that rise to 1500 m in the Dengfeng district of Henan Province. It has 36 peaks and stretches 60 kilometers, composed of Taishi Mountain and Shaoshi Mountain. The highest peak is 1512 meters above sea level. The seven peaks of Song Shan stretch for 64 km between the cities of Luoyang and Zhengzhou. The slopes rise steeply from the valley and are thickly clad with trees, giving them an impressive appearance, but the highest peak (Junji) reaches only 1500m in altitude.
The mountain is one of the sacred Taoist mountains of China, and contains important Taoist temples such as the Zhongyue Temple; however the mountain also features a significant Buddhist presence. It is home to the Shaolin Temple, traditionally considered the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, and the temple's collection of pagoda forest is the largest in China. The Zhongyue Temple is also located here, one of the earliest Taoist temples in the country. The Songyang Academy nearby was one of the four great academies of ancient China. The mountain and its vicinity are populated with Taoist and especially Buddhist monasteries. The 6th century Songyue Pagoda is also located here, as well as Tang Dynasty (618–907) pagodas within the Fawang Temple. Eight locations at the foot of the mountain in Dengfeng have been a World Heritage Site since 2010.
Songshan Stratigraphic Structure National Geopark
The Shaolin Monastery is located within the geopark. Three major orogenies formed the area: the Songyang Orogeny of 2.5 billion years ago, the Zhongyue Orogeny of 1.85 billion years ago, and the Shaolin Orogeny of 570 million years ago. They were named after local attractions in the area. The Songshan Geopark is also called “the textbook of geological history”.
- Goossaert, Vincent. "Songshan." in Fabrizio Pregadio, ed., The Encyclopedia of Taoism (London: Routledge, 2008), 917-918.
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