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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tianmen Mountain

Tianmen Mountain is a mountain located within Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, in northwestern Hunan Province, China. There are a variety of plants, such as Davidia involucrata, Metasequoia glyptostroboides which are under state-level protection. And Tianmen cave, a natural hole in the mountain of a height of 131.5 metres.

A cablecar was constructed by the French company Poma from nearby Zhangjiajie railway station to the top of the mountain. The cableway is claimed in tourist publications as the "longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world", with 98 cars and a total length of 7,455 metres and ascent of 1,279 metres. The highest gradient is an unusual 37 degrees.

Tourists can walk on kilometres of paths built onto the cliff face at the top of the mountain, including sections with glass floors. Or through Tongtian Avenue (Avenue toward Heaven). It has 99 turns symbolizing that Heaven has nine palaces. Whole road is 11km. It has a well-deserved reputation-a wonder highway of the world. Through Tongtian Avenue, one reaches directly the Tianti - celestial ladder from the top of which a celestial-like scene comes into view.

With profound cultural background, Tianmen Mountain is always considered as the holy mountain by locals. A 500-year-old Buddhist temple is nestled in the mountain attracting thousands of prayers every year. The original temple here was built in the Tang Dynasty. Today a more recent construction with Tang dynasty architecture occupies the site and includes a vegetarian restaurant in the 10000 square metre setting. Many legends and stories about the mountain were inherited from generation to generation, which are widely spread in the west of Hunan Province.

On September 25, 2011 Jeb Corliss glided through the 100 feet (30 m) wide archway in the mountain using a wing suit. The flight began from a helicopter at 6,000 feet (1,800 m), and ended with a safe landing on a nearby bridge.

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