Hanging Monastery - China



The Hanging Temple or Hanging Monastery is a temple built into a cliff (75 m or 246 ft above the ground) near Mount Heng in Hunyuan County, Shanxi province, China. The closest city is Datong, 64.23 kilometers to the northwest. Along with the Yungang Grottoes, the Hanging Temple is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area. Built more than 1,500 years ago, this temple is notable not only for its location on a sheer precipice but also because it includes Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements. The structure is kept in place with oak crossbeams fitted into holes chiseled into the cliffs. The main supportive structure was hidden inside the bedrock.

According to the history of Shangshen Mountain, construction of the original temple was conducted by only one man, a monk named Liao Ran. Over more than 1,600 years, many repairs and extensions have led to its present day scale. This temple is over 50 meters tall.


Construction experts from countries including Britain, Germany, and Italy, come to see the monastery. In their words, Hanging Monastery, which mixes mechanics, aesthetics, and Buddhism, is rare. The architecture and everything it symbolizes embodies a great cultural achievement of Chinese people.

The second attraction of Hanging Monastery is that it includes Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Inside the monastery, the sculptures of Sakyamuni, Confucius and Laotzu appear together, which is unusual. There are 40 halls and cabinets, which contain about 80 sculptures made of copper, iron, terracotta, and stone. The features are vividly carved.



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