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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Milo Boyd & Sophie Foster

Avatar inspired by stunning real world 'floating' mountains and towering cliffs

The incredibly vibrant 3D world of Pandora is based on a real national park.

Anyone who has seen the latest Avatar film will almost certainly have been blown away by the incredible beauty of the world it's set on.

Pandora is rich with alien types of flora and fauna, whale like marine creatures which patrol the teeming oceans, and stunning rock formations.

The world has recently been recreated at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida.

While Avatar megafans may find their desire to be immersed in the spectacular land of James Cameron's imagination is satiated by the Disney park, it's not quite the same.

The majestic Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Although Pandora itself can't be visited in real life, the locations which helped to inspire its designs can.

One of them is the majestic Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan Province, China.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to be a direct influence for the films, with Far Out Magazine claiming that Cameron “filmed footage of the mountains before editing them into the final movie in the form of the Hallelujah Mountain.”

Plus, The Southern Sky Column in Zhangjiajie was even renamed Avatar Hallelujah Mountain back in 2010 in commemoration of the film, according to the BBC.

When you see photographs of the area… it’s easy to see where its influence was drawn into the film.

Within the park are a series of fascinating geographical features, most notably tall, pillar-like rock formations that tower high into the sky.

The influence of the towering rock formations is clear (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

They rise next to shocking cliffs that seem to stand alone against the enormity of the park.

The spindly columns are formed by the weather in the area – usually from the freezing and expansion of ice in the winter and plants that grow within the cracks.

Gazing at the massive columns of stone covered in dense vines it’s easy to see how they would have inspired the floating Hallelujah mountains seen on Pandora.

The enormous park was China’s first recognised national forest park and covers a huge 11,900 acres.

If you do visit Zhangjiajie there are plenty of ways to experience the natural scenery.

The Bailong Elevator is the world’s tallest outdoor lift and stretches along the stone pillars to give visitors the best view.

It stands at 1,070ft tall and its name means the Hundred Dragons elevator.

Footage of the mountains were used in the production of the film (Getty Images)

You need to be fairly stout of heart to give it a go as the elevator has a glass face designed to give riders the best views and was constructed on a carefully chosen quartz sandstone cliff.

The lift takes just one minute and 32 seconds to reach to apex of the cliff.

You can also gaze around from the Zhangjiajie Glass footpath – a skywalk bridge which will make many people’s stomachs fill with butterflies at the thought of crossing it.

Those not afraid of heights can also take one of three gondola list systems in the park which let you ride among the mountains on a cable car.

The UK government does not currently advise against travel to China, but it’s important to note that the nation is experiencing “its largest Covid outbreak” and “there may be an increased risk of infection”.

Tourists will need to take a PCR test to enter the country.

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