China (2,017 m) – One of the Five Sacred Mountains of China (north)
The Mount Heng located in Shanxi province is also known as the Northern Mount Heng in order to distinguish it from its southerly counterpart in Hunan. It is the second highest of China’s Five Sacred Mountains and, not surprisingly, the most northerly. Because of its distance from the more populous areas of central China in ancient times, it is historically the least important of the sacred peaks.
Heng has been held as sacred since earliest Chinese history, but probably came to prominence during the Han dynasty. The mountain has been home to a continuous series of religious sites, collectively known as the Shrine of the Northern Peak, for at least two thousand years. Its isolation made it one of the most difficult of the sacred mountains to visit.
However, that began to change as the importance and population of Peking (now Beijing) started to grow. Approximately 120 miles west of the Chinese capital and accessible by major road, it is now a much more prominent site visited by tens of thousands of visitors annually. Nevertheless it is relatively undeveloped, making Northern Heng one of the most pristine of the sacred peaks.