Hanging Temple

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Hanging Temple
The Hanging Temple.
LocationHunyuan County, Datong City, Shanxi Province
Hanging Temple is located in Shanxi
Hanging Temple
Shown within Shanxi
Hanging Temple is located in China
Hanging Temple
Hanging Temple (China)
Geographic coordinates39°39′57″N 113°42′18″E / 39.66583°N 113.70500°E / 39.66583; 113.70500Coordinates: 39°39′57″N 113°42′18″E / 39.66583°N 113.70500°E / 39.66583; 113.70500
StyleChinese architecture
Date established6th century

The Hanging Temple, also Hengshan Hanging Temple, Hanging Monastery or Xuankong Temple (simplified Chinese: 悬空寺; traditional Chinese: 懸空寺; pinyin: Xuánkōng Sì) is a temple built into a cliff (75 m or 246 ft above the ground) near Mount Heng in Hunyuan County, Datong City, Shanxi Province, China. The closest city is Datong, 64 kilometres (40 mi) to the northwest. Along with the Yungang Grottoes, the Hanging Temple is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area. Built more than 1,500 years ago, this temple is notable not only for its location on a sheer precipice but also because it is the only existing temple with the combination of three Chinese traditional philosophies or three religions (三教): Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The structure is kept in place with oak crossbeams fitted into holes chiseled into the cliffs. The main supportive structure is hidden inside the bedrock.[1] The monastery is located in the small canyon basin, and the body of the building hangs from the middle of the cliff under the prominent summit, protecting the temple from rain erosion and sunlight bake.


According to legend, construction of the temple was started at the end of the Northern Wei dynasty by only one man, a monk named Liaoran (了然) in 491 AD. Over the next 1,400 years, many repairs and extensions have led to its present-day scale.[2]


The entire 40 halls and pavilions are all built on cliffs which are over 30 metres (98 ft) from the ground. The distance from north to south is longer than from east to west and it becomes higher and higher from the gate in the south to north along the mountain. With brief layout, it includes the Qielan Hall (Hall of Sangharama), Sanguan Hall (Hall of Three Officials, 三官殿), Chunyang Hall (纯阳殿), Hall of Sakyamuni, Hall of Three Religions (三教殿) and Guanyin Hall.[3]

Hall of Three Religions[edit]

The Hall of Three Religions mainly enshrines Buddhist deities as well as both Taoism and Confucianism. The statues of Sakyamuni (middle), Lao-Tze (left) and Confucius (right) are enshrined in the hall. This reflects the prevailing idea of Three Teaching Harmonious as One (三教合流) in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911).[3]



  1. ^ "挂在60米高悬崖上 千年古寺为何悬空不倒". Archived from the original on 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  2. ^ Brenhouse, Hillary (9 June 2010). "Xuan Kong Si, Shanxi Province, China". Top 10 Precarious Buildings. Time.com. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b Zi Yan (2012). Famous Temples in China (in English and Chinese). Hefei, Anhui: Huangshan Publishing House. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-7-5461-3146-7.

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