Huangshan literally meaning the Yellow Mountain(s), is a mountain range in southern Anhui Province in eastern China. It was originally called “Yishan”, and it was renamed because of a legend that Emperor Xuanyuan once made alchemy here.
The Huangshan mountain range has many peaks, some more than 1,000 meters high. The three tallest and best-known peaks are Lotus Peak (Lianhua Feng, 1,864 m), Bright Peak (Guangming Ding, 1,860 m) and Celestial Peak (Tiandu Feng, literally Capital of Heaven Peak, 1,829 m).The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers a core area of 154 square kilometres and a buffer zone of 142 square kilometres. The mountains were formed in the Mesozoic, approximately 100 million years ago, when an ancient sea disappeared due to uplift. Later, in the Quaternary Period, the landscape was sculpted by glaciers.
The vegetation of the area varies with elevation. Mesic forests cover the landscape below 1,100 meters. The deciduous forest stretches from 1,100 meters up to the tree line at 1,800 meters. Above that point, the vegetation consists of alpine grasslands. The area has diverse flora, where one-third of China’s bryophyte families and more than half of its fern families are represented. The Huangshan pine (Pinus hwangshanensis) is named after Huangshan and is considered an example of vigour because the trees thrive by growing straight out of the rocks. Many of the pine trees in the area are more than a hundred years old and have been given their own names (such as the Ying Ke Pine, or Welcoming-Guests Pine, which is thought to be more than 1500 years old). The pines vary greatly in shape and size, with the most crooked of the trees being considered the most attractive.
The mountaintops often offer views of the clouds from above, known as the Sea of Clouds because of the cloud’s resemblance to an ocean, and many vistas are known by names such as “North Sea” or “South Sea. The area also is host to notable light effects, such as the renowned sunrises. Watching the sunrise is considered a “mandatory” part of visiting the area