Hanging Temple

The Hanging Temple is a temple built into a cliff near Mount Heng in the province of Shanxi. The closest city is Datong, 65 kilometers 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 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.

It's clinging to the side of a cliff, is composed of some 40 connected halls that appear to be supported by toothpicks. Looking more like a wooden model than anything weight-bearing, it is actually supported by sturdy timbers that extend deep into the mountain. Sakyamuni is in the center with Confucius to his right and Laozi to his left. While the temple is marvelous, be prepared for the particularly unattractive surroundings -- a huge parking lot and, beyond that, a dam and reservoir.

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