Beyond The Invisible

Amazing, Interesting and Inspiring

The Hanging Monastery, Built 1400 Years Ago!

Located 3.5 kilometers southeast of Hunyuan County and built halfway on the cliff at Jinlong Canyon, the Hanging Monastery of Hengshan Mountain is one of China's most unique and remarkable feats of wooden architectural complex.

Built more than 1400 years ago, this temple is unique not only for its location on a sheer precipice but also because it includes Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements.

The monastery is founded during the Northern Wei period (386-584) in the 6th century, boasting a history of over 1,400 years. An architectural complex was built on the base of the natural hollows and outcrops along the contour of the cliff. Over 40 halls and pavilions within an area of 152.5 square meters are connected each other by corridors, bridges, boardwalks. They are evenly distributed and well balanced in height.

Inside the monastery are over 80 statues; some are cast with bronze, some with iron, some with clay and some are carved out of stone.

Facing east, the architectural complex hangs about fifty meters above the ground. It used to be much higher above the ground, but over the ages the silt has built up, raising the level of the riverbed. Reconstruction work was carried out from the Tang through the Qing dynasties, as well as in recent times. In 1982, the monastery was listed as one of our country's key protecting units of cultural relics.

How could a building like this withstand the winds and storms of so many years? Hanging Monastery is an architectural wonder. A unique mechanical theory was applied to building the framework. Crossbeams were half-inserted into the rock as the foundation, while the rock in back became its support. Seen from below, Hanging Monastery appears to be a tumble-down castle in the air. Inside, Hanging Monastery provides the same scene as other temples.

Construction experts from countries including Britain, Germany, and Italy, come to see the monastery. In their words, Hanging Monastery, which mixes mechanics, aesthetics, and Buddhism, is rare. The monastery and everything it symbolizes embodies a great cultural achievement of Chinese people.

Why build a monastery like this? Location is the first reason; building a monastery on the cliff could shield it from floods. In addition, the mountain peak protects it from rain and snow; and the mountain around it also diminishes damage from long-time sunshine. The second reason is that the builders followed a principle in Taoism: no noises, including those from rooster crowing and dog baying; so from the upper ground, all noises drop away.

Via - Cool Stuff4u


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    7 February 2008 at 8:32 AM

    Wow this is awesome very interesting!

  • Anonymous  
    5 July 2009 at 11:03 PM

    I was woundering does any one of pictures of the inside?

    send me info please to

  • Anonymous  
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    Thank You for sharing such beauty and unique pictures.

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