The Wudang Mountains (simplified Chinese: 武当山; ancient Chinese: 武當山; Pinyin: Wǔdāng Shān), also known as Wu Tang Shan or simply as Wudang, are a small range of mountains in Hubei province, China. They are located just in the east of the auto-manufacturing city, Shiyan.
The mountains of Wudang have been famous for many centuries for the Taoist monasteries found there. These monasteries had been centers for research and teaching, the practice of meditation, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese herbs, Taoist agriculture practices and other related arts. As early as the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD), the mountain attracted the emperor’s attention. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the first site for Taoist worship on the mountain - the Five Dragons Temple - was constructed.
The monasteries were emptied, damaged and then neglected during and after the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976, but lately the Wudang mountains have become increasingly popular with tourists from all over China and abroad due to their scenic location and historical significance. The monasteries and buildings were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The palaces and temples on Wudang were mostly built as an organized complex during the Ming Dynasty (14th–17th centuries), however, there are Taoist buildings on the mountain that date back as early as the 7th century. The buildings represent some of the highest levels of Chinese art and architecture for nearly 1,000 years. Noted temples on the mountain include the Golden Hall, Nanyan Temple and the Purple Cloud Temple.
The Wudang monasteries figure prominently in Chinese martial arts films and media, especially in the genre known as popular martial arts literature and films based on those books. For example, the end scene of the world-famous movie Crouching Tiger & Hidden Dragon, by Taiwanese director Ang Lee, was set in the Wudang monastery, although it was not actually filmed there. In some martial arts films about the Shaolin Temple, some characters using Wudang martial arts are portrayed as villains. In many martial arts movies, however, actors portraying Wudang practicers can also be found in heroic or neutral roles.