Located close to Zhangjiajie, in China’s Hunan province, Tianzi proves popular amongst those with an eye for the unusual. Thinking about paying a visit? You’ll never have seen anything quite like this before and you might question whether you’re still on Planet Earth.
Indeed, when James Cameron was making the movie Avatar, he took inspiration from the alien landscape here. Stranger than fiction? Take our word for it: such places do exist. Reaching 4,000 feet into skies that are often thick with fog, Tianzi’s quartz sandstone towers are ancient. These are thought to date back four million years. But with weathering and erosion having taken their toll, the fabled peaks look nothing like they once did.
Scientist say the peaks are the product of erosion, but according to legend, the mountain gets its name from an ethnic man named Xiang Dakun. Xiang Dakun fought against the emperor soldiers until he was forced back to the edge of the mountain’s cliff and then fell to his death. After his death, his lover covered the cliff with flowers, which explains the flowers that cover the ledges today. Legend also states that the Tianzi peaks are actually Xiang Dakun writing brushes, which turned to stone after his death. Which explanation do you like most?