China is famous for being one of the countries that owns the most unique and impressive historical buildings. However, if you have already travel the Great Wall or the Forbidden City, or the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor… try visiting the most beautiful ancient temples in China.
With impressive architecture and prime location, these temples have extremely important values in Chinese culture, religion and history!
Discover the most unique ancient temples in China
Hanging Temple on Mount Heng
Fixed at a height of 75 m by wooden poles drilled deep into the cliffs, the Hanging Temple or Xuankong Temple on Mount Heng, in Hunyuan County, Datong City, Shanxi Province is a temple that has existed for over 1,500 years. With its unique architecture and value, every year it attracts a lot of tourists to visit and explore.
According to records, the temple was built in 491, during the Northern Wei Dynasty by a monk named Liaoran. The back of the temple is designed based on the concave cliffs, while the temple faces a valley. From a distance, looking at the temple, it feels like you are floating in midair.
During its long period of existence, the temple has undergone many renovations and expanded to become what it is today. Experts have considered and evaluated that the temple’s construction techniques are extremely creative and difficult to implement, even when the technology is developed as it is today.
In addition to its value of architecture or ancient antiquity, this temple is known as the only temple that combines Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. With a total area of about 125 m2, a length of 32 m, Hanging Temple consists of 3 main parts, with 40 rooms. In the temple, there are currently 80 works carved from copper, iron, earthenware and stone. Among them, the most prominent are statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Confucius and Lao Tzu. In addition, the clay statues in the south of the temple are also valuable works from the Ming Dynasty.
Two ancient temples on Mount Fanjing
Located in the Wuling Range, on the top of Mount Fanjing are two famous Chinese temples with a sky-high position. The architectures are considered great testaments to the faith and devotion of the Buddhists. Because to reach the temple, visitors will have to climb 8888 stone steps. In China, for Buddhists, Mount Fanjing is also considered a very sacred mountain.
These two temples were built in the 7th century BC. To this day, the temples still retain many intact architectural pieces. Located at 2,336 m above sea level, the two temples are separated by a canyon. Therefore, to be able to go from one temple to another, visitors will have to walk on an impressive rocky bridge.
After being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the temples as well as Mount Fanjing has become famous and many people wish to visit it. However, it still maintains a certain level of isolation to preserve the diverse ecosystem with more than 2000 endemic plant species and hundreds of rare animals.
Lingyin Temple is also known as the Temple of the Soul’s Retreat. The temple was built by a high monk from India around year 326 in Hangzhou, near Feilai Peak. To this day, the temple is nearly 1700 years old and is one of the oldest temples in China.
During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, the temple possessed extremely massive architecture with 9 buildings, 18 rooms and 72 shrines. Besides, the temple also had about 3,000 monks. Currently the temple has an area of nearly 130 acres and embodies a series of extremely great architectures.
If you want to learn about Buddhism or discover the values of Chinese culture, history and architecture, the most beautiful ancient temples above are all ideal suggestions.