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The Gate to Heaven, Hunan, China | Insight Guides Blog

The Gate to Heaven, Hunan, China 25 Nov 2016

Posted on 25 Nov 2016
The Gate to Heaven at the Tianmen Mountain of Zhangjiajie in Hunan, China.
The Gate to Heaven at the Tianmen Mountain of Zhangjiajie in Hunan, China.
The Gate to Heaven at the Tianmen Mountain of Zhangjiajie in Hunan, China.

About this photo

At the top of Tianmen Mountain in Hunan, China, there is a spectacular natural phenomenon. Over hundreds of years, soil and water erosion have slowly formed a 30-metre-wide arch in the rock face of the mountain. However, according to Chinese folklore, a piece of the mountain fell off in the year 263 and created the huge cavity. The arch on Tianmen Mountain – known as Heaven's Gate – is the highest known instance of this natural phenomenon on the planet, sitting at almost 5,000 feet above sea level. 

To reach the top of the mountain, you can either take a cable car or drive along a very windy road, with 99 hairpin bends, although parts of the route are walkable. From there, there are 99 steps to climb before you reach the arch, which is often shrouded in clouds. The 99 bends and steps are no coincidence: in Taoism, the number 9 represents the Emperor, also known as the Son of Heaven.

Add a stop to see the Heaven's Gate and climb the 99 steps on a trip with Insight Guides. Remember, you can add or amend experiences included on our ready-made trips.

About photographer

Em7/Shutterstock