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Jinci Temple

Shuimulou in Jinci TempleJinci Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple located at the source of the Jin River by Xuanwang Hill, 25km southwest of Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province. It is believed that the original temple was built between 1023 and 1032 to commemorate Shuyu, the second son of the Emperor Zhouwu of the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100-771BC), but there have been countless additions and restorations over the centuries, right up to the time of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Jinci Temple is a famous garden of ancient buildings, skirted by the mountain and the river, where ancient trees soar to unbelievable heights. It is in compound with hall, pavilions, and towers. The Saintly Mother's Hall, built from 1023 to 1032 during the Song Dynasty, is the most magnificent and oldest building remains of ancient in Jinci Temple. It is regarded an important example to the study of Song Dynasty architecture and to the history of architecture. The forty-three painted clay figures of maids were modeled vividly with natural miens and various expressions.

The long-life Spring at south of the Saintly Mother's Hall is the source of Jin River. It runs without stopping and always ramains a constant temperature of 17 statue in Jinci TempleCelsius. Evergreen duckweed is shining in the stream and groups of fish always are playing about. On the east of the Saintly Mother's Hall, the Flying Bridge across the Fish Ponds is the only and earliest 'cross' style bridge. On the right side of the Hall, there lies a slanted cypress of the Zhou Dynasty. The cypress, the long-life Spring and the painted clay figures of maids in the Saintly Mother's Hall are reputed as the 'three wonders' of Jinci Temple.

Scenic Spots in Jinci Temple

Upon entering Jinci Temple, the first major structure is the Mirror Terrace. This is a Ming building that was once used as an open-air theater. The Empress Dowager Cixi built a similar one at the Summer Palace, which had now been converted into a restaurant. To the west of the Mirror Terrace is Zhibo's Canal, which cuts through the temple complex, and above the canal is the Huixian Bridge. This bridge provides access to the "Terrace of the Four Iron Statues", which displays figures cast in 1097.

Across Duiyue Lane, passing the bell and the drum towers of Jinci Temple, is Xian Hall. This hall used to display sacrificial offerings and was built in 1168 during the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). To the west of this hall is the Fish Pond, which is crisscrossed by a bridge. Since this bridge looks like a flying bird, it is named Flying Girder. At the north and south ends of the bridge lie two stone lions, and to the east lie a pair of iron lions.

Further back of Jinci Temple is the Goddess Mother Hall, the oldest wooden building in the city and one of the most interesting architectural examples in the complex. This hall backs onto Xuanwang Hill and faces the Fish Pond. On each side of the hill sits the Nanlao Fountain and Shanli Fountains, with 43 painted clay figures from the Song Dynasty inside, 33 of which are maidservants standing around a large seated statue of the "Sacred Lady". This figure is said to be the mother of Prince Shuyu of the ancient Zhou Dynasty. Their varying ages, shapes and facial expressions are very impressive.Zhou pine tree in Jinci Temple

To the south of the Goddess Mother Hall in Jinci Temple is the Nanlao Fountain Pavilion, which was built during 550-559. The main source of the Jin River streams out from the hole under the pavilion. The fountain is so wonderful that numerous poets across the ages have written about it. Next to the Goddess Mother Hall is the Zhou Cypress, an unusual tree that has supposedly been growing at an angle of about 30 degrees for the past 900 years.

The famous "Tang Stone Stele" lies in the famous Zhengguan Baohan Pavilion in Jinci Temple. The Stele is inscribed with the handwriting of the Tang Emperor Taizong. In the southern part of the temple grounds is the Sacred Relics Pagoda, a seven-storied octagonal building constructed at the end of the seventh century.


Jinci Temple Tour

As an ancient Buddhist temple with a long history and so many historical scenic spots, Jinci Temple is one of the symbols of Shanxi Province attracting a lot of foreign tourists.

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