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Shanhua Temple

Shanhua Temple

A saying states, “Originally built before the Zhenguan Period of the Tang Dynasty, Shanhua Temple towers above Yunzhou in the south corner.”Shanhua Temple is commonly referred to as South Temple. Its main body is well-preserved. The architecture in the temple differ greatly in height and are marked by bilateral symmetry. Also, there is a distinction between the important buildings and lesser ones. It is China’s largest and the best-preserved temple from the Liao and Jin Dynasties in existence. It’s listed as a cultural heritage site under state protection. Located in the southwestern corner of Datong, it was originally built in the Kaiyuan Period of the Tang Dynasty. Later, it got its name Kaiyuan Temple during the reign of Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty. At the end of the Five Dynasties and the beginning of the Jin Dynasty, it was renamed Da Pu’en Temple. In 2nd year of the Baoda Period of the late Liao Dynasty (1122 AD), it suffered from damages brought on by warfare and most of the structures were ruined. At the beginning of the Jin Dynasty, Master Yuanman, the abbot of the temple, took the lead to renovate the temple. From 6th year of the Tianhui Period of the Northern Song Dynasty (1128AD) to 3rd year of the Huangtong Period of the Jin Dynasty (1143 AD), it took 15 years to complete construction. In the Yuan Dynasty, it retained “Pu’en Temple” and was expanded into a larger one. According to the historical records of the Yuan Dynasty, some 4,000 monks were under orders given by Emperor Wu Bilie to gather in this temple and perform Buddhist rituals. In the Ming Dynasty, it was renovated again in 10th year of the Zhengtong Period and got its present name, Shanhua Temple. The temple is a place where government officials perform religious rituals.