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The Plains

  • General Information

    Other Name: Great Plains, District: Shanxi, State: NORTH CHINA, China
    Area: 6956 kmĀ²
    Languages Spoken: Mendarin
    Long Distance Code: +86351
    Importance: Taiyuan has developed a large industrial base with heavy industry (notably iron and steel) of prime importance; local coal production is considerable.
    Best Time to Visit: April to June and November
    International Access: Connected to most part of China.
  • Description

    Taiyuan is the largest coal mining center in China. It also houses several large corporations in Taiyuan, such as the Taiyuan Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) which is the largest stainless steel producing plant in Asia.
  • Location

    Taiyuan is one of the great industrial cities of China and lies on the Fen or Yellow River in the north of its fertile upper basin.
  • Climate

    Temperate Climate
Chongshan Temple is located in Huangmiao Lane, Wuyi Road, Taiyuan City. It is first built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), once called White Horse Temple. In 1381, the temple was rebuilt and extended by the third son of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, in memory of his mother, and renamed Chongshan Temple. Covering an area of 40.4 acres, the temple has become a key cultural relic under the protection of Shanxi Province and home to the Buddhist Association of Shanxi Province.

Most part of the temple has been destroyed during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi (1856-1875) of the Qing Dynasty. The present temple includes the Bell Tower, the Dabei Hall, and the east and west wing rooms. The Dabei Hall is the most typical Ming Dynasty architecture that has been preserved in the best condition and possesses high artistic value. The design of the figure of Avalokitesvara with one thousand hands and one thousand eyes is grotesque and spectacular. In the hall are also preserved Buddhist scriptures of the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasty editions as well as picture albums of Buddha's deeds and about his fifty - three disciples. The three gilded Ming Dynasty mud statues of Bodhisattvas are all about 8 meters (26.2 feet) high. All three statues still retain their florid colors and smooth lines, rare artworks of the Ming Dynasty.

Jinci Temple, located at the foot of the Xuanweng Mountain to the southwest of Taiyuan, is one of the most important historical relics under special protection of the State.

Jinci Temple was built in the Bei Wei Dynasty (386-534) in memory of Shuyu, the second son of Zhouwu kingdom. The temple is a famous garden of ancient buildings, skirted by the mountain and the river, where ancient trees soar to unbelievable heights. It is in compound with hall, pavilions, and towers. The Saintly Mother's Hall, built from 1023 to 1032 during the Song Dynasty, is the most magnificent and oldest building remains of ancient in Jinci Temple. It is regarded an important example to the study of Song Dynasty architecture and to the history of architecture. The forty-three painted clay figures of maids were modeled vividly with natural miens and various expressions.

The long-life Spring at south of the Saintly Mother's Hall is the source of Jin River. It runs without stopping and always ramains a constant temperature of 17 Celsius. Evergreen duckweed is shining in the stream and groups of fish always are playing about. On the east of the Saintly Mother's Hall, The Flying Bridge across the Fish Ponds is the only and earliest 'cross' style bridge. On the right side of the Hall, there lies a slanted cypress of the Zhou Dynasty. The cypress, the long-life Spring and the painted clay figures of maids in the Saintly Mother's Hall are reputed as Jinci Temple's 'three wonders'.

Wutai Mountain (Five Terrace Mountain), located between Beijing and Inner Mongolia in Shanxi Province, is one of China's four sacred Buddhist mountains, along with E'mei Mountain, Jiuhua Mountain and Putuo Mountain.

The five peaks of Wutai Mountain represent the Buddha's crown, the five Buddha families, the five wisdom lights, the five viscera organs, and the five elements with the northern peak reaching over 10,000ft high. The tallest of these peaks is the northern peak, that is 3058 meters above sea level, making it the largest in the north of China.

There are also many extremely powerful caves on Wutai Mountain. There is the Vimilimitra Cave, Manjushri Cave, Samantabhadra Cave, an Avolokitshvara Cave where the 6th Dalai Lama spent six years in meditation and most powerful of all is the Mother Buddha Vajrayogina Tara Cave.

Wutai Mountain and the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri are the subject of countless Buddhist scriptures, sutras and tantras. Mahayana Buddhism began arriving on Wutai Mountain as early as the first century Han Dynasty and temple building began as early as 25AD which continues to this day. By the fourth to sixth centuries there were over 200 temples and during the Tang Dynasty 700AD China's Chan Buddhism became the most prolific form of Buddhism in the Far East.

The valley that the five peaks of Wutai Mountain surround is centered upon a small village, Taihuai. There are many temples in this area, many of them dedicated to the worship of the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism (Gelukpa). South of town are four or five temples, including the sloped heights of the Nanshan Temple, the beautiful environs of the Zhenhai Temple and the more distant Dragon Spring Temple, with its beautiful marble entranceway. Not far north of the village lie three further temples, the highest, the Bishan Temple, is a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) complex that contains some interesting sculptures

Yingze Park, situated at the central part of Yingze Street, is the biggest, integrated park in central Taiyuan. Covering an area of 61 hectares, the most interesting feature of the park is an old library, which was built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).