There’s no shortage of breathtaking architectural wonders in the long history of China. Some are magnificent, while some are odd, dangerous, and sophisticated. Hanging Temple, also known as Hanging Monastery or Xuankong Temple, is obviously an outstanding representative of the latter.
Hanging Temple, which is named as “悬空寺”in Chinese, is hanging on the half cliff of Cuiping Peak, west side of Golden Dragon Gorge of Hengshan mountain in Hunyuan County, Datong City, Shanxi Province. Arriving at the foot of the temple, visitors would have the feeling of heartbreaking! The Chinese characters “壮观” (means grand sight or spectacular) at the foot of the mountain is the handwriting left by the great poet Li Bai in Tang Dynasty.
Hanging Temple is the only existing temple with the combination of three Chinese traditional religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. It can be clearly seen from the foot of the mountain that the monastery on the cliffs is “supported” by over twenty beams. But in fact, the “suspension” of the monastery does not rely on these pillars to achieve. Some beams haven’t any forces from the building, instead, in accordance with principles of mechanics, based in the half-inserted beams, with the support of rock, together with the up and down of the beams, as well as the left and right of the columns, the monastery can keep its balance and hangs firmly on the cliff.
It is said that there’s no beams when the temple was completed. But people didn’t dare to walk onto it when seeing there’s nothing supporting the temple, so they placed some beams beneath the building.
Due to the monastery is located in the small canyon basin, and the body of the building is hanging in the middle of the cliffs, which is under the summit prominent part, protecting the temple from rain erosion and sunlight. Coupled with the repair of the dynasties, the color tattoo in the temple is relatively well preserved. December 2010, it was listed in the “Time” magazine as the world's top ten most odd dangerous buildings.
However, with the development of tourism, more and more visitors rush to this world wonder, bringing tremendous load to the temple. It is said that visitors have to wait for over three hours to enter the temple during the holidays.
Wonders of the World, Datong Hanging Temple
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