Green Dragon Temple on Mt. Tiangui (Pingshan County, Hebei)

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Lying to the southwest of Pingshan County, Hebei Province and some 80 km2 from the provincial capital Shijiazhuang, Mt. Tiangui is a mountain-and-temple scenic area famous in north China. Green Dragon Temple ( 青龍觀 Qinglong Guan ), the center of the scenic area, was according to legend built in the remote Xanadu under the mandate of Late Ming Emperor Chongzhen. According to local historic materials, Emperor Chongzhen, foreseeing the toppling of his Dynasty by the many rebels, ordered his confidential eunuch Lin Qingde to build a Xanadu in a secrete and beautiful place as a refuge for the future. Lin, finding Mt. Tiangui of strategic safety and beautiful landscape, began construction on a large scale. When the temple was on the point of being finished, rebel Li Zicheng seized Beijing and the Emperor hanged himself on Mt. Mei. Hearing the news, the helpless Lin became a Daoist priest and renamed Xanadu as the Green Dragon Temple. Repaired many times in the 300 years since then, the temple expanded to once house over 100 priests and prospered as a Daoist holy site famous in the north with the title of "Northern Wudang".

The main constructions of the Green Dragon Temple include the Hall of the Perfect Warrior ( 真武殿 Zhenwu Dian ), the Hall of Great Luminosity ( 大光明殿 Da Guangming Dian ) , the Hall of the Green Rock, the Hall of the Venerable Sovereign ( 老君堂 Laojun Tang ) , the Temple of the Eastern Sacred Mountain ( 東岳廟 Donyue Miao ), the Temple of Emperor Guan ( 關帝廟 Guandi Miao ), the Temple of Wenchang ( 文昌廟 Wenchang Miao ) and the Pavilion of the Kui Star ( 魁星閣 Kuixing Ge ). With over 30 constructions on steep cliffs, they form a magnificent view. The Hall of the Perfect Warrior, the main construction of the Green Dragon Temple, stands on a 5-metre-high stone platform with the words "Clouds Gathering Platform" engraved on its base. The empty platform was once a recitation hall for Daoists and now is the Mt. Taihang Institute of Calligraphy and Painting. The Tablets Recording the Construction of Temples on Mt. Tiangui ( 《天桂山殿宇修建碑記》 Tiangui Shan Dianyu Xiujian Beiji ) describe the Hall of the Perfect Warrior as "lofty in construction, complete in ritual implements, solemn in practice, grand in form, and comparable to the famous Tianyi Zhenqing Palace on Wudang Mountain."

Among the caves and springs all over the mountain, the Cave of the Perfect Warrior's Cultivation, the Cave of the White-Haired Fairy, the Pagoda Tree Spring and the Pearl Well are the famous ones with enchanting legends and stories.