Lushan National Park
Lushan National Park is a cultural landscape known for its natural beauty. It has inspired many Chinese artists, writers, philosophers and scientists.
The Lushan world heritage site contains four kinds of cultural relics:
- archaeological sites.
- historic buildings.
- Chinese and foreign villas.
Visit November 2007
(Mount) Lushan can be accessed by a 22 kilometer long curved road from Jiujiang. Lushan is an eclectic site, and not having found much information about it in my guidebook or on the internet, I started with buying a map at the local bookstore. It had many places marked on it but I could find only a couple of the sites named in the WH nomination.
As I have seen enough of sacred mountains (and their cable cars and turtle rocks) over the past weeks, I decided to focus on Lushan’s villas. These were built here from 1895 onwards by Europeans and Americans, turning Guling (the little town on Mount Lushan) into an internationally known summer resort.
The Meilu villa is the one closest to the bus station. It was constructed in 1903 by a Lord Reynolds and later used by Chang Kai-shek. You can get inside. Further down the road there are many other fine villas, like the Williams house and notably the group built by American missionaries. Walking around in this area does feel like you’re not in China anymore (the traffic in and around town is pleasantly low too).
On the other side of the valley there are more natural or traditional Chinese sights. What to think of the Three Ancient Trees? The three (one gingko and two cryptomeria) were reportedly planted in the 3th-5th century and stand now 39 meters tall.
A subject only slightly touched at the ICOMOS evaluation of this site is its connection with 20th century Chinese politics and the history of the Chinese Communist Party. This is one of the most clear features however. Lushan is famous for its ‘Lushan Conference’ in 1959, when Mao Zedong asserted his power and led him to proceed with the Great Leap Forward. Mao had a house here too, which now holds the Lushan Museum. It’s a spacious building where much of the period furniture has been preserved. One can even have a look at Mao’s bathroom (which surprisingly features a western style toilet!).
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Full name: Lushan National Park
1996 - InscribedReasons for inscription
1996 - CriteriaProposed as a Mixed WHS by China, but at Bureau meeting in Merida this was rejected: "The Bureau also decided not to recommend the inscription of the property on Natural Criteria"
The site has 18 connections. Show all
- Neolithic age "Archaeological sites include the large Neolithic village of Tingzi Dun (4th millennium BC), the farming, hunting and fishing settlement of the Shang and Zhou dynasties of Fanzhou Yan (1600-1000 BC), the residences of Tao Yuan-Ming, who moved several times during his lifetime (365-427), and the battlefield of Boyang Lake (Three Kingdoms Period, 220-65)." - Nomination File
- Summer residences "In addition there are around 600 villas built by Chinese and foreign visitors in the late 19th and 20th centuries, when the area became a popular resort and was, during the 1930s and 40s the official Summer Capital of the Republic of China." (UNESCO)
- Mao was here "During the 1930s and 1940s it was the Official Summer Capital of the Republic of China, and with the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949 it was the venue for meetings of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party under the chairmanship of Mao Zedong on no fewer than three occasions" - There are five more recent buildings within the park, in stone and concrete, dating from 1934 to 1970. The two later ones were the residences of Mao Zedong (1960) and Lin Biao (1970).- AB document
Religion and Belief
- Buddhist Pure Land "The Donglin Temple (East Grove Temple), built by eminent monks in the Eastern Jin Dynasty, was the birthplace of the Jintu (Pure Earth) Sect of Buddhism." - AB document
- Confucianism There is a Confucian academy located at Lushan, the White Deer Grotto Academy
- Pagoda Construction of the seven-storey brick West Grove Pagoda began around AD 730, during the Jin Dynasty.- AB Document
- Taoism Lu Xiujing built the Simplicity and Tranquillity Temple as the repository of Taoist scriptures
- Built in the 4th century OUV = "associations with Chinese spiritual and cultural life", "The oldest of the cliff inscriptions is in the calligraphy of the great pastoral poet of the Jin Dynasty, Tao Yuan-ming (365-427)" and for the East Grove Temple (AD 386)
WHS on Other Lists
World Heritage Process
- Associative Cultural Landscape Cultural Landscape & criterion vi: the model for the popularization of Song and Ming Dynasty Confucian idealist philosophy and the model of academy-based education (AB ev)
- Cultural sites rejected for Natural criteria In 1996 China asked for a "mixed" inscription but the site was only inscribed on cultural criteria