Mt. Yuelu, which means the foot of Mt. Hengshan (Southern Mountain), is located on the west bank of Xiangjiang River and lies in the west of Changsha City. It's a highly reputable scenic area in Hunan Province, an area that enables you to have a much clearer understanding of Changsha City once you have paid a visit to Mt. Yuelu.
The name "Yuelu" derives from a famous line in the book, Story of Nanyue, authored by Liu Song from the Southern and Northern (CE 386-588) Dynasties period. The line in question reads "Eight hundred square meters around Nanyue, the head is Huiyan and the foot is Yuelu". The explanation follows from the fact that Nanyue is an alternative name for Mount Hengshan (Heng Mountain, to be correct, since "shan" means mountain), one of the five sacred mountains in Chinese mythology, and from the fact that Mount Yuelu is a continuation of the same mountain range to which Mount Hengshan belongs. Huiyan was a famous Buddhist teacher.
Except for the beautiful natural sceneries, The mountain is dotted with inspiring cultural heritages including the Yuelu Academy, Lushan Temple, Yunlu Palace, Aiwan Pavilion, Baihe Spring, the Monument to King Yu and other minor historical traces.
With Lushan being the core, Mt. Yuelu is made up of other scenic areas like Juzizhoutou, Tianma, Taohualing and Shijialing and two separate sights (the Old Site of The New Citizen's Academic Association and Tuchengtou Site). The most renowned attractions on Mt. Yuelu are the Yuelu Academy, the Lushan Temple and the Aiwan Pavilion, etc.
The Yuelu Academy is situated at the east foot of the mountain and was built in 976 during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It used to be one of the 'Four Academies' at that time. Later it was changed into a college for higher learning and in 1926, it was named Hunan University. The history of the academy is considered to be the epitome of the development of Chinese higher education. Halfway up the mountain you will discover the Lushan temple, which was built in the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and is the earliest Buddhism temple in Hunan Province. The Aiwan Pavilion was built during the reign of Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was first called the Hongye Pavilion and then was renamed the Aiwan Pavilion because of a poem written by a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). After several expansions and renovations, it appears as we see it today. It is also a place of revolutionary significance. When Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zedong), the first chairman of PRC, was studying in a normal school, he used to come to the pavilion with several friends and they often discussed current affairs. The pavilion name was inscribed by Chairman Mao in 1952 when it was rebuilt. The Aiwan Pavilion is one of 'Four Famous Pavilions' in China.
The permanent charm of Mt. Yuelu remains for all to witness, as no matter what the season it appears to exude natural beauty whilst still remaining a highly valued cultural site. It's certainly a highlight of Changsha City.
Admission Fee: Free
Bus Route: Take bus no.132, 202, 305, Lishan Special Line or Tourism Bus Line 1 and get off at Yuelu Mountain North or Yuelu Mountain South.