Hanging Temple of Hengshan - Atlas Obscura

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Hanging Temple of Hengshan

A fifth-century temple improbably built into the side of a cliff. 


The Hanging Temple, located about 60 kilometers southeast of Datong, China, in the Shanxi province, is one of the world’s forgotten wonders. Clinging to a crag of Hengshan mountain, in apparent defiance of gravity, it consists of 40 rooms linked by a dizzying maze of passageways.

The temple is said to have been built by a monk named Liao Ran during the late Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and restored in 1900. It was constructed by drilling holes into the cliffside into which the poles that hold up the temples are set.

Interestingly, the temple is dedicated to not just one religion, but three, with Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism all practiced within the temple and represented in 78 statues and carvings throughout the temple.

Know Before You Go

The temple is located about 60 kilometers southeast of Datong. It is five kilometers away from the town of Hunyuan.

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