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An hour's drive from Jiexiu, Mianshan Mountain is a tourist spot built into the side of the cliff in the mountains. It is famous for Lord Jie, retainer to the emperor in long ago China. The story I heard was that when a King and his faithful retainer had to flee the capital due to unrest, they hid out in these mountains. Hungry, Lord Jie sliced off a piece of his leg and offered it to his King to eat. When the King eventually regained his throne, he asked Lord Jie to return to his post. Lord Jie had had enough of court and refused to come, instead retreating to Mianshan Mountain with his mother to live. The King chased after him into the mountains, and after getting some advice from a crooked court official, set fire to the mountains to try to smoke him out. Lord Jie and his mother perished, his remains are buried at the top of the mountain. Hence after, they hold a yearly Cold Food Festival in honor of Lord Jie who cut off part of his leg for his King. The town, Jiexiu, is named after Lord Jie. This if probably not the full story, but I cannot read Chinese so this is all I can remember (great story though!). There are around 5 or 6 hotels in the area, and Yungfeng Hotel is the best for foreigners (they speak excellent English there). I stayed at the ShuiTao Xingu Hotel, which is lovely and faces a beautiful waterfall, but we couldn't communicate too well with them as they spoke mainly Mandarin (but we communicated through translations on babelfish/computer). There is so much to do here, you need at least 2-3 days to explore the area. We did it by ourselves, and managed to get by with a mixture of walking, hiking, and some taxi-taking. I heard there was supposed to be a shuttle bus between the various scenic areas, but we couldn't figure out which bus it was (there were so many!). It's worth it to go, and we'll be back to see it again.
Written Oct 4, 2011
Address: Jiexiu town, Shanxi province