Asia

The 7 Most Impressive Pagodas in China

Probably the most popular structure associated with Buddhism, the pagoda is an important part of Asian culture. Its origin can be traced all the way back to the 3rd century BC, when the first Indian stupas were built. Early pagodas were built entirely out of wood, but as sturdier materials began being used, to protect them against fire and rot, this unique architectural style evolved, and more impressive pagodas appeared. Let’s take a look at the most amazing pagodas in China, today:

Liuhe Pagoda

Photo by kanegen

Literally translated as “Six Harmonies Pagoda”, this architectural wonder is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, in Hangzhou, China. Named after the six Buddhist ordinances, Liuhe Pagoda was originally built, during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD), to stop the tidal bore of the Qiangtang River. The octagonal pagoda was built out of brick and wood, and is 196 feet high. Each of its seven floors feature paintings and carvings of flowers and animals, and can be accessed via an interior spiral case.

Sakayamuni Pagoda

Photo by Gisling

The oldest fully-wooden pagoda in China, the Sakayamuni Pagoda was originally a big temple, built during the Liao Dynasty. Throughout 900 years of existence, this 221 feet high structure suffered multiple reconstructions and withstood countless powerful earthquakes. The name of the pagoda comes from the giant statue of Sakayamuni Buddha, housed inside the first level.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Photo by Alex Kwok

Located in Xian, one of the four ancient capitals of China, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a symbol of Chinese culture and a holy place for Buddhists. It is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture, due to its simple but appealing style. The name of “Big Wild Goose Pagoda” comes from an old legend that says a wild goose broke its wing and fell in the place of the pagoda, right when a group of Buddhist monks were praying Bodhisattva would provide some food. The 211.6 feet high Big Wild Goose Pagoda is visible from pretty much all hotels in Xian, so you don’t have to worry about finding it.

Tianning Pagoda

Photo by Jakub Halun

Standing at 504.6 feet, the 13-story Tianning Pagoda is the tallest pagoda in the world. Very tough wood, brought in from Burma, and 75 tons of brass and gold were used in the construction of this incredible structure. Tianning pagoda is 7.2 meters taller than Khufu Pyramid, in Egypt, and has a 30,000 kilogram heavy bronze bell that can be heard from up to 5 kilometers away.

Yellow Crane Pagoda

Photo by RockLee

Known as “The First Scenery under Heaven”, Yellow Crane Pagoda is one of the most popular towers south of the Yangtze River, and a symbol of Wuhan City. Originally built during the Three Kingdoms Period, by Sun Quan, King of Wu, Yellow Crane Pagoda served as a watchtower for his armies. Over the centuries it lost its military function and became a popular picturesque location, praised in poems and songs. Although it was destroyed by fires, many times, its fame made the people rebuild it every time. The current structure dates back to 1985, and it copies the design of a Qing Dynasty picture.

Leifeng Pagoda

Photo by pedronet

Constructed in 975, by the King of Wuyue Kingdom, to celebrate the birth of his son, Leifeng Pagoda quickly became one of the most famous buildings in China. The octagonal, five-story pagoda was built out of brick and wood, which made it vulnerable to fire. Unfortunately, the structure suffered a lot of damage over the centuries, and in 1924, it suddenly collapsed. Because of its popularity, as a tourist attraction, and historical value, Leifeng Pagoda was rebuilt, and inaugurated in 2002.

Sun and Moon pagodas

Photo by alshain49

Located on Banyu Lake, the Sun and Moon pagodas are one of the most popular attractions of Guilin. Sun Pagoda, the taller of the two, is the tallest copper pagoda in the world, at 41 meters. The nearby Moon Pagoda is only 35 meters tall. The two are connected by a tunnel, at the bottom of the lake. The best time to visit the Sun and Moon pagodas of Banyu Lake, is at night, when they both light up in gold and blue.

17 Comments for "The 7 Most Impressive Pagodas in China"

Michael says on May 26th, 2010 at 4:24 am:

Impressive. Olden day skyscrapers.

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