Taoist Origins of the Wudang Mountains
The Wudang Mountains are known as Immortals' Mountain of Taoism and the World for Swordsman. The area has a long history of Taoist practice, a profoundly deep-rooted Taoist culture and a long standing practice of wushu – martial arts.
During the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) the first site of worship was constructed, and it was known as the Five Dragon Temple. This site was expanded and became known as the Imperial Palace on the Cliff. There, Wudang’s ancient architectural complex, consists of eight palaces, two Taoist temples, seventy–two rock temples, twelve pavilions, and ten shrines. All extremely large in scale and articulation, these constructs are powerful demonstrations of the harmony between architecture and nature — or in other words, between man and nature. The development is nestled in an idyllic locale, and its design is correspondent with the surround- ing environment of seventy–two mountain peaks, twenty–four streams and thirty–six craggy cliffs. After China’s Cultural Revolution, spanning from 1966 to 1976, these monas- teries were emptied, damaged and neglected. Recently, the area regained popularity for its beautiful scenery, and historical interest. The monasteries and buildings were made a UN- ESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, guaran- teeing their future protection and prosperity.