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Giant Buddha Temple

The Giant BuddhaThe Giant Buddha Temple stands in the southwest part of the historic city Zhangye, which lies in the middle of the Hexi Corridor along the Silk Road. The temple was initially built in 1098. People said that Wei Mie, a Great Master in West Xia State, unearthed a gold statue of reclining Buddha covered by jade tile, then he built this temple to house the Buddha. The temple was restored many times particularly during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The existing structures are the Giant Buddha Temple, Scripture Tower and the Earth Tower. The Giant Buddha Hall is two-storied, 33 meters high, 49 meters wide and 24 meters long, occupying a total area of 1770 square meters. Inside the Grand Buddha Hall lies the reclining statue of Nirvana Buddha decorated with the golden and colored patterns. The buddha is 34.5 meters long with the shoulder of 7.5 meters wide, foot of 4 meters and ear of 2 meters long. It is quite vivid, looking like awake but sleeping in fact. Behind the sleeping Buddha are 10 sculptured disciples and 18 arhats stand at the both sides of the porch. On the wall of the inside Hall painted the murals about the Journey To The West (a celebrated novel written in the Ming Dynasty) and the Classics of Mountains and Rivers (an ancient Chinese encyclopedia).

In the Buddhist Classics Hall of Giant Buddha Temple, there are more than 6000 tomes of lectures, some of which, written in gold and silver, are the most precious ones. The Clay Pagoda, one of the Five Elements Pagodas in Zhangye, has 13 stories. On its first and second stories are four miniature pagodas, a feature rarely seen in other pagodas.

It is said that the Bieji Queen (a famous queen of the Yuan Dynasty) once lived in the Giant Buddha Temple and gave birth to Kublai Khan here. At the end of Southern Song  Dynasty, Zhao Xian, Gong Zong, became a monk here to avoid the misfortune after his captivity. The Italian traveler Marco Polo, deeply impressed by the magnificent architecture of the Giant Buddha Temple and by the prosperity of Zhangye City, lived here for more than a year.

 

Giant Buddha Temple Tour

Giant Buddha Temple is well known for the remains of China's biggest indoor sculpture reclining of Nirvana Buddha. The Zhangye Museum is also located here. So tourists could visit these two attraction at the same time.

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