Ma'anshan is charming with its picturesque scenery, with Yushan Lake in the heart of the city, and many mountains such as Ma'an, Jiuhua, and Jiashan. The most famous scenic spot in Ma'anshan is Caishiji, a rock projecting over the water, on top of which stands the Taibai Tower named after Li Bai. The city is linked to Wuhu and Nanjing by rail.
Ma'anshan is an ancient cultural city as well as producer of steel thanks to its rich deposits of iron. The Ma'anshan Iron & Steel Co. is a major iron and steel production center in the country.
A touching story is told of the city's name, which means Horse Saddle Hill. When the Kingdoms of Chu and Shu were at war in the third century, General Xiang Yu of Chu was defeated by Liu Bei and attempted to retreat to Wujiang on the north bank of Yangtze. Finding only a small boat, he had his precious mount ferried across first. At this moment Liu Bei's pursuing soldiers arrived and Xiang yu, knowing he was trapped, cut his throat with his own sword. Seeing his master's courageous suicide, the horse leapt into the river and drowned. The boatman buried its saddle on the nearby hill.
7 kilometer southwest of downtown Ma'anshan, Caishiji (coloured stone cliff) is one of the 3 most famous rocks along the banks of the Yangtze River, the other 2 being Chenglingji in Yueyang, and Yanziji in Nanjing.
Buildings on Caishiji commemorate the Tang poet, Li Bai (701-762). The 3-storeyed Taibai Lou houses 2 Chinese boxwood statues of the poet, one depicting his immortal gesture of inviting the moon to join him in a cup of wine.
Here too is the "Tomb of Li Bai's Clothes and Official Hat". According to the local legend, Li Bai's clothing was buried on Caishiji when he drowned after falling drunkenly from a boat one evening while attempting to embrace the moon's reflection in the river.
The Three Scholars Grotto (Sanyuan Dong) was allegedly built by 3 grateful gentlemen who, on their way to the capital to take the imperial examinations, found safety and shelter under the cliff when their boat was caught in a sudden and violent storm.
After all 3 had gained first-class honours and promotions, they recalled their close shave and donated funds for the building of this grotto.
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