Heaven’s Gate Mountain. China
One of the amazing natural attractions of China – Tianmen Mountain. It is located in Hunan Province eight kilometers from the city of Zhangjiajie. It is famous for the world’s highest cave. The height of Tianmen Mountain is 1518.6 meters. It has been well studied by scientists and measured to the nearest centimeter. This picturesque place was born by nature, namely, formed naturally as a result of erosion. In 263, the huge chunk broke away from the mountain, and the cave was formed, with a length of 60, a height of 131.5 and a width of 57 meters. This unimaginable natural phenomenon was called “Heaven’s Gate”. The name justifies the fact that it is constantly shrouded in clouds.
A stairway of 999 steps leads to the foot of the cave from the top of Tianmen. Due to the Taoist philosophy, these mystical 999 steps are the supreme number and the symbol of the emperor. There is a belief among the locals that the mountain itself and its gates of heaven have a mystical force.
In the 20th century, the sudden flows of water fell down from the top of the Tianmen Mountain for unexplained reasons. The waterfalls occurred at an altitude of 1500 meters, lasted only for 15 minutes and disappeared also suddenly. It is interesting that every time these strange incidents occurred in the years of significant events for China, so the superstitious Chinese consider them as completely non-random coincidences.
In addition, there are various legends about the countless treasures of the Ming Dynasty hidden in the mountains of Tianmen (allegedly, one of the leaders of the peasant uprising hid great treasures in the cave). For centuries the treasure hunters are trying hard to find them, but unsuccessfully.
Tianmen Mountain and Heaven’s Gate are the most popular tourist attractions in China. There is the longest and highest cableway in the world, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. Its total length is 7455 meters, and some spans reach up to 500 meters.
You can also use a path on the ground. The Road Tuntyan or the road with 99 bends is a highway stretching for 11 km and one of the steepest mountain serpentines in the world. The distance between the turns is from 200 to 1300 meters.
There are also special mountain trails with length of several kilometers around the summit of the Tianmen Mountain. A small 70-meter section of the trail is made of glass. Its thickness is only 6 cm! You can see the bottomless pit under your feet, this spectacle is truly not for the faint-hearted tourists.
There is another important point of interest. There is a popular among the pilgrims and tourists Buddhist temple located on Tianmen Mountain, which is also called “Heaven’s Gate.” This complex covers an area of about 10 000 sq. m.
You will enjoy the stunning views of the bizarre peaks and cliffs of the Forest Reserve Zhangjiajie. It is a part of the Wulingyuan scenic area. It is believed that they were the prototype of the famous flying islands of Pandora in the world-known movie “Avatar”.