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Silk Road Travel Guide Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty
Wooden Tower of Sui Dynasty China--Zhangye
The 31-metre-tall Mu Ta , also named Wooden Tower located just a few hundred metres north of the Zhangye Hotel, built as long ago as the sixth century, before being burnt down and then restored in 1925. The upper storeys are supported by twenty huge wooden columns. On each corner of the octagonal storeys are carved dragon heads with pearls in their mouths. Behind the tower is a rectangular building for the storage of Buddhist scrip-tures. The octagonal tower is now home to large numbers of jackdaws, and its grounds are used by the local kung fu school. A few hundred metres south of here, and one block to the west of the Zhangye Hotel, the Xilai Si, a small temple complex, is currently being restored in the Tang-Song style. It is also a centre of active Chinese Buddhism, and when you enter you may find a sudden rush of elderly monks coming out to bless you and present you with their name-cards.
Giant Buddha Temple China--Zhangye
Giant Buddha Temple is the largest architectural relic in Gansu Province, China's largest reclining Buddha is well preserved in this temple. The Giant Buddha Temple was built in 1098 to house the Buddha. In its 900 years the temple was restored many times during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The existing complex consists of the Giant Buddha Hall, the Buddhist Classics Hall, and a Clay Pagoda. The two-storied Giant Buddha Hall is 33 meters high, 49m wide and 24m long, with a total area of 1770 square meters. The gold-plated and painted Giant Buddha lies in the Nirvana situation in the middle of the hall. The whole Buddha is 34.5m long and 7.5m wide between its two shoulders, with feet of 4m and ears of 2m. The Buddha"s calm expression is impressive. Behind the Buddha are 10 disciples, and in two side halls stand 18 Saintly Warriors. The walls of the hall are covered with colorful murals, which depict episodes from the Shanhai Jing (the Mountain-sea Sutra, an ancient Chinese encyclopedia) and from Xiyou Ji (Journey to the West, a celebrated novel written in the Ming Dynasty).
In the Buddhist Classics Hall, there are more than 6000 tomes of lectures, some of which, written in gold and silver, are the rarest and most precious.
The Clay Pagoda, one of the Five Elements Pagodas in Zhangye, has 13 stories, on the first and the second stories of which are four miniature pagodas, a feature rarely seen in other pagodas.