The Middle Kingdom is said to have 5,000 years of culture and these are just the places to learn about the rich history of China, whether you're interested in religion, politics, warfare or peoples.
Perched up on high in the Cang Shan mountain range, Zhonghe Temple (Zhōnghé Sì, 中和寺) is a modest temple with a panoramic view of Er Hai lake and the lowlands around it. A common stop for those hiking up Cang Shan, Zhonghe Temple is a good place to stop and get your bearings, plus there's a restaurant nearby to fuel up. It's also possible to stay the night in the temple. Yunnan guide | Dali guide | Dali attractions | Dali flights Dali hotels | Dali tours & activities | Dali on the China Travel Blog
The sight of the Buddhist Longhua Temple (Lónghúa Sì, 龙华寺) pagoda rising into the sky against the backdrop of Shanghai's 21st century high-rise skyline can be both jarring and sublime. As the city's largest remaining pagoda, the 40 m (130 ft) tower stands as a monument to China's traditional culture, which so often seems lost in the thicket of Shanghai's metastasizing glass-and-steel high-rise developments and freeway flyovers. At the same time, the pagoda and the busy temple grounds surrounding it illustrate a deep and vibrant continuity..
Zixiao Gong (Zǐxiāo Gōng, 紫霄宫), or the "Purple Cloud Temple" is a sizable and aesthetically pleasing early Ming temple and monastery. Built against the slopes of the mountain, the structure is built in a succession of platforms that get progressively higher, offering increasingly attractive views of Wudang Shan's sea of jungle-studded peaks. The area is very photogenic, so don't forget your camera. If you're there at the right times, you'll have the opportunity to watch worshipers bowing to the monks as they..
An ancient sentinel watching over the lush valleys and the picturesque Wudang reservoir below, Nanyan Temple (Nányán Sì, 南岩寺) is Wudang Shan's flagship attraction and is easily its most photographed. The temple is perched on a cliff at the head of a trail leading to Golden Top on Tianzhu Peak, where you'll find the Zhenwu Shrine and the All Gods Temple. From the Nanyang Tourist Center (Nányán Lǚyóu Zhōngxīn, 南岩旅游中心), where you can eat, sleep and buy souvenirs, including ridiculously cheap..
Also known as the "Chen Clan Temple", the Chen Clan Academy (Chén Jiā Cí, 陈家祠) is a unique complex and a fascinating monument to South China's culture...and to anyone from Guangdong Province with the common surname Chen. Built in the late 19th century with funds gathered from Chens throughout Guangdong, the Chen Clan Academy served as a gathering place, hall of ancestral worship and school. The province's many Chens put a lot of money into their namesake academy, and today the complex's series of..
Guanlin Temple dates back to the year 1596 in the later half of the Ming Dynasty, and has an interesting—albeit gruesome—story attached to it. Legend has it that Guan Yu, whose tale is perfectly hyperbolized in the famed Romance of Three Kingdoms (author: Luo Guanzhong), led many a battle and offered allegiances with several neighboring warlords, playing one against the other. When his tactics were finally discovered, Guan Yu was ambushed and beheaded. His severed head was sent to Caocao, one of the warlords for whom Guan had..
The Taoist Temple of the City God (Lǎo Chénghuángmiào, 老城隍庙), tucked away within the Old City alongside the Yu Gardens and Yuyuan Market, is the home of the local deities (there are actually three, all derived from actual historical personages) responsible for the well being and wealth of Shanghai residents. Going by Shanghai's booming economy, they've done quite a good job in recent years, and you can see citizens making offerings of incense, candies, fruit and other goodies fit for a City God in order to keep the good times rolling. The..
The Jade Buddha Temple (Yùfó Chán Sì, 玉佛禅寺) was built during the troubled reign of the Qing Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) and burned down after having been occupied during the 1911 revolution. The temple takes its name from the original two white jade Buddha statues that abbot Hui Gen brought with him from Burma—a sitting statue about 1.95 m (almost 6 1/2 ft) in height and a smaller reclining Buddha. Today's temple also contains a third, even larger Buddha from Singapore. During the 1911 upheaval, the..
High atop a massive pillar, golden four-faced lion look out at the clutter of modern high rises and billboards dominating Shanghai's central Jing'an Temple (Jìng'ān Sì, 静安寺) area. Beneath the pillar, one of the city's most interesting—and busiest—Buddhist temples has been reconstructed in stages, without ever ceasing to serve the faithful who come to make offerings, pray, burn incense and otherwise seek spiritual respite from the bustling metropolis outside the temple walls. Records show that the..
Man Mo Temple (Man Mo Miu) is a quite traditional Chinese temple situated at the corner of Hollywood Road and the aptly named Ladder Street (it appears to run straight up the mountainside). The present temple building, dating from 1847, is dedicated to a pair of deities: Mo Tai, the god of war, and the god of literature, Man Tai. One of the oldest temples in Hong Kong, Man Mo is home to two antique chairs used to carry statues of the gods, which preside over the faithful from within clouds of incense pouring forth from hundreds of large..
The King Asoka Temple, or Ayuwang Temple (Ayù Wáng Sì, 阿育王寺) takes its name from a 3rd century B.C. Indian emperor who, after conquering most of what is India today, renounced violence and embraced Buddhism. For believers, the temple is important for its stupa housing the sarira of the historical Buddha. It is said after his body was cremated, colorful beads, called sarira, were found among the ashes, and were later placed in stupas by King Asoka. According to legend, one of these siriras was found by Chinese monk Liu..
At the base of Mount Taibai, the 20 buildings of Tiantong Temple (Tiāntóng Sì, 天童寺) sprawl out between forested hills some 25 km (16 mi) east of Ningbo proper. The buildings, containing 730 rooms, are all connected to one another, giving visitors shelter from the sun and rain. Around 300 A.D., the monk Yixing sought to build a temple and, according to legend, the Heavenly King sent the god Taibai to earth to be reborn as a child to help him, giving the temple its name, which means "heavenly child." Later, the temple figured in..