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The Yellow Mountains in Huangshan prefecture are a classic feature in ancient Chinese poetry and paintings. The mountains and two nearby villages are listed as a World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Of all the mountains in the world, why have the Yellow Mountains become such a popular place for many travelers? Here, we have summarized 10 interesting facts you should know about this mysterious and charming place.
1. Huangshan city and the Yellow Mountains share the same name in Chinese.
Huangshan is a small city in East China near Shanghai, and the Yellow Mountains is a scenic area located 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Huangshan city, but still within its prefectural jurisdiction. These three different areas all have the same Chinese name of Huangshan (黄山).
Generally, Huangshan means the city or prefecture of Huangshan (黄山市) and the scenic area that includes the Yellow Mountains is called Huangshan Scenic Area (黄山风景区). If you are traveling to Huangshan city or the Yellow Mountains, make sure you use the right names. See Huangshan Transportation.
2. The Yellow Mountains didn't get their name because of having a yellow color.
The mountain range had the name Yishan (黟山) long ago, which means 'the Black Mountains', though the rocks aren't black either. Their color can best be described as gray.
The mountains were also once called Tianzi Du (天子都), which means 'heaven's son's (emperor's) capital city'. The name lives on at Tiandu Feng (天都峰) or Heavenly Capital Peak, the third tallest of Huangshan's peaks.
In the legend of the Yellow Emperor, the mythological ancestor of the Chinese people, he visited the mountain range in his later years and became a supernatural being there. In 747, the Emperor of China renamed the mountain range to the Yellow Mountains.
3. "You don't need to visit other mountains after visiting the Yellow Mountains."
The stunning scenery of the Yellow Mountains has been attracting travelers for thousands of years. One of the travelers was Xu Xiake (徐霞客), a Chinese geologist and litterateur who lived about 400 years ago.
Xu was deeply impressed by the breathtaking scenery of the Yellow Mountains and exclaimed:
"You don't need to visit any other mountains after visiting the "Five Great Mountains", and you don't need to visit the "Five Great Mountains" after visiting the Yellow Mountains."
4. You can't witness all the beauty of the Yellow Mountains in just one visit.
As we know that the Yellow Mountains are not named after their color, then what color are they? This is not an easy question to answer as the mountains look different in different seasons and weathers and times of day.
In spring and summer, the mountains are covered with greenery; in autumn, yellow flowers and red leaves make the peaks more colorful; in winter, frost and rime decorate the mountains so they look like a crystal world.
For this reason, it is next to impossible to see all the sceneries in one visit. Paying a second visit or more is suggested.
5. The Yellow Mountains are the theme of tens of thousands of paintings and poems.
The Yellow Mountains not only attract visitors today but beckoned to poets and painters in ancient times. Some of the artists visited the Yellow Mountains again and again, creating countless works of literature and art.
There are over 20,000 poems about the Yellow Mountains and there are more than 300 inscriptions on precipices that you can see on the mountains.
The beautiful and mysterious Yellow Mountains gave birth to the "Yellow Mountain Painting Genre" in the 17th century. A Chinese neoteric painter called Liu Haisu visited the mountains 10 times in his lifetime and created bundles of great paintings.
6. The Yellow Mountains' highlights are its Four Wonders... plus 1 more.
- Pines: Umbrella-like pines that grow on the peaks are named after their shapes. The most famous one is the Guest-Greeting Pine, which looks like a gentle old man stretching one of his arms out, welcoming honored guests.
- Rocks: Over 100 rocks have been named, such as Flying-Over Rock, Stone Monkey Watching the Sea, and so on. Many rocks have a story or legend behind the unique shapes.
- Seas of Cloud: On rainy or snowy days, or when the sun rises and sets, the peaks will be embraced by a sea of clouds, making the peaks look like islands on the sea.
- Hot Springs: Flying Snow Hot Spring at the south of the scenic area is the best place to ease your fatigue after visiting the Yellow Mountains.
And there is one more wonder that can only be seen in winter:
- Snow: The Yellow Mountains' winter arrives early around October and snow may fall at the end of November, but is most likely in January. The snow and rime make the mountains appear mysterious and beautiful.
7. You can stay overnight in the mountains to see the breathtaking sunrise and sunset.
Many travelers choose to stay in a hotel in the mountains and get up early to see the sunrise. The view is breathtaking when the sunshine pierces through the clouds and sprinkles them with golden rays of light.
The sunset provides a different warm and tranquil view.
As the hotels in the mountains are hard to book, remember to book your room as early as you can if you want to see a sunrise and sunset.
8. Ancient villages near Huangshan city are also favorite places.
The ancient villages near Huangshan are excellent places to get closer to the local culture and to experience an idyllic lifestyle. If you have half a day free, making a side trip to the picturesque villages enriches your journey.
- Hongcun Village and Xidi Village: Admire the courtly Hui-style ancient architecture by the water and see the exquisite wood/stone/brick carvings. These villages are UNESCO sites.
- Bishan Village: See how the artists built the village into a rural utopia.
- Nanping Village: Visit some of the best ancestral halls in China and enjoy cycling in the countryside.
9. Huangshan is now connected by international airlines and high-speed trains.
Many mountainous regions have limited transportation but Huangshan is an exception.
At present, Huangshan has an international airport with an airline connecting Seoul in Korea as well as over 20 domestic airlines connecting major cities in China.
Another option is to travel on the high-speed trains. From Shanghai, it takes less than 3 hours to reach Huangshan.
With the improved transportation, a journey to Huangshan can be fast, efficient, and comfortable.
Get more useful information about Huangshan transportation.
- 3-Day Ancient Villages and Yellow Mountain Tour
- 15-Day China's Ancient Cities and Celebrated Mountains
10. Huangshan has some smelly but tasty food.
Huangshan is one of the origins of Hui cuisine. Nowadays, after hundreds of years of development, Huangshan has over 3,000 characteristic dishes.
The most famous dishes are smelly mandarin fish and stinky tofu. Their smells keep people away but some people fall in love with the dishes after one bite. If you like being adventurous, just have a try!
Don't worry if you can't tolerate smelly food. Hui cuisine provides numerous dishes with an appetizing smell, attractive appearance, and mouthwatering taste, such as pork bone soup, roast duck, and steamed chicken.
Check out the most popular dishes in Huangshan.
Enjoy a Pleasant Trip to Huangshan and the Yellow Mountains with Us
Can't wait to plan your own Huangshan and Yellow Mountains tour? Pick one of the tours below to travel with us:
- 3-Day Essence of Huangshan Tour
- 4-Day Trekking in the Yellow Mountains Tour
- More Huangshan and Yellow Mountains tours
All of the tours above can be customized according to your interests. Alternatively, you can tell us your wishes and let us create a unique experience for you.