Datong Shanhua Temple

Datong Shanhua Temple (Shanhua si) is also called the South Temple (Nan si) because it lies in the southern section (Nan mian) of town, just within the confines of the old city walls. The temple is worthwhile visiting, part for its interesting history and architecture, but also because of the peacefulness of the grounds around, only occasionally upset by crowds.

Datong Shanhua Temple, Datong attractions, Datong Travel GuideThe temple, originally built in the Liao Dynasty (907-1125AD) and rebuilt in the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234AD), the Shanhua Temple has become the most complete group of architectures of the Liao and Jin Dynasties in China. It underwent further expansion and renovation in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1911 AD).

Today, the temple proper is a good manifestation of the traditional Chinese architectural philosophy, with most of the buildings located in careful symmetry and all the main constructions standing along a north-south axis. The best of the buildings is probably the Grand Hall (Daxiong baodian), housing 5 Buddhas and 24 divine generals, which stand on a terrace at the far back of the temple. There is also an interesting Dragon Screen (Longbi) in the temple, although it is no match for the larger Nine Dragon Screen in town. There also still remain a few relics from the temple's early dynasties, including around 30 Liao and Jin statues, and one hall still in strict Tang style.