Shangfangshan National Forest Park
Shangfangshan National Forest Park, which was built in 1992, is located in Fangshan District, in the southwest of Beijing’s suburban area, 65 kilometers from downtown Beijing. Shangfangshan National Forest Park is a comprehensive multi-purpose scenic spot, integrating tall mountains, forests, caves, temples, springs, pavilions and karst landscape. It’s famous for its 9 karst caves, 12 peaks and 72 temples. The park is celebrated as one of the states’ top 20 model forest parks, being a natural gymnasium in Southwest Beijing. Every year, a large number of tourists flock to the park to enjoy its beautiful mountain flowers in full bloom in spring, or avoid summer heat and appreciate bright red leaves in autumn.
Mountain: Shangfangshan is the branch mountain of Mt. Yan, whose highest peak is 860 meters above sea level. It has an abundance of vegetation, with the forest coverage rate of over 95%. The park has 12 mountains, among which, Mt. Tianzhu located in the center of Shangfangshan is the most spectacular. Standing on the mountaintop, you can have a panoramic view of Shangfangshan.
Forests: Shangfangshan covers an area of 329.3 hectares, which is the only original secondary forest in good keep in North China. There are 645 species of plants and trees, such as oriental arborvitae, Chinese pines and oak trees. The park has 51 first-class ancient and rare trees, such as 29 meter-tall and 1000-year-old cypress and banyan. There are 4,000 second-class ancient trees. The park boasts a large variety of ancient and rare trees, which is one of the few ancient tree complexes in Beijing.
Karst Caves: Shangfangshan boasts abundant ancient caves with rent size and form among which, nine caves are the most spectacular. The nine famous caves are respectively Tianwang Cave (天王洞), Jiuhuan Cave (九环洞), Yanshou Cave (延寿洞), Yinyang Cave (阴阳洞), Huayan Cave (华严洞), Jingang Cave (金刚洞), Zhaoyang Cave (朝阳洞), Xifang Cave (西方洞) and Yunshui Cave (云水洞). Among those nine spectacular caves, Yunshui Cave ranked as the topflight one. It is the earliest cave that began to open to the public in North China. Just 1,400 years ago, there was the trace of human beings in Yunshui Cave. In Yunshui Cave, the natural landscape of stalactite, stalagmite and stalagnate is vivid and as natural as it were living. In the second hall of the cave, there is a 38-meter-tall stalagmite which is celebrated as a Optimus Prime.
Tiankeng (huge karst hollow) in Shangfangshan is the first Tiankeng discovered in North China, which is over 70 meters deep. Various plants live in this Tiankeng, and wood fossil and bone fossils were discovered there. Tiankeng has high value on scientific research and tourism.
The construction of temples in Shangfangshan dates back to the late period of the Eastern Han Dynasty. After the construction of successive dynasties, the temples there have formed the scale. At present, temples and temple ruins accounts to 72. The main temple is Doushuai Temple (兜率寺) dating back to the Sui Dynasty, and the number of its monks exceeds 500 at its best. In the corridor of Sheli Hall, murals of the Ming Dynasty are well preserved, and there are also poems inscribed on the wall by the successive celebrities. Shangfangshan boasts the largest ancient temple complex in North China. Its 54 ancient temples account fro 25% of the total in Beijing. Shangfangshan is also an ideal venue to experience rich Buddhism culture.
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