Jinci Temple,25km away from downtown Taiyuan City located at the foot of Hanging Jar Mountain, is a place of interest famous for its long history and rich cultural relics, which is surrounded by mountains and trees and infused with a pleasant air and birds' wings.

Tang Shuyu Memorial Temple

Shuyu governed the state wisely. He made the agriculture developed at that time by using the Jin River. People lived in a happy life for more than 800 years. To commemorate the wise duke, a memorial temple was built at the most beautiful place of the Tang State, which was called Tang Shuyu Memorial Temple. Shuyu's son came into power and renamed the state Jin because his land was the source of the Jin River. Hence, this is where the name Jin comes from—the shorten form of Shanxi Province. And the memorial temple was renamed King Jin's Memorial Temple.

No one is sure when the memorial temple was first built, but the earliest record can be found in the book of Shui Jingzhu,written by geographer Li Daoyuan during the Northern Wei Dynasty some 1,500 years ago. He wrote:“West of the ponds, at the edge of mountains and rivers lies Tang Shuyu Memorial Temple, in which the prosperous spring flows near odd pavilions and the flying bridge crosses over jade-like waters.”From its first built, the memorial temple was renovated and enlarged constantly. As a result, it has become a mixture of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, as well as a treasure trove of well-preserved ancient architecture. There are more than 100 structures such as palaces, halls, buildings, pavilions, terraces and bridges in the temple, among which the Saint Mother Hall built in the Song Dynasty, the Flying Bridge across the Fish Ponds and the Offerings Hall are called three national treasures identified by the Ministry of Culture.

Three National Treasures

Four Iron Guards

On the axis of Jinci Temple, four majestic-looking iron guards stand. Nine hundred years have passed but they still look splendid and impressive. Figures of Song Dynasty Maidservants in the Saint Mother Hall are echoing the strong iron guards, especially the thirty-three maids statues. Those cold faces and dull expressions, which were usually used in the early sculpture art, cat't be seen here. On the contrary, this is a man's society that is composed of these thinking maids who act feelingly. Their frowns and smiles, even the movement of hands and feet, are able to make you lost in reverie. When viewing them, we could even hear them laugh lively,whisper secretly and sigh helplessly. In1945, when a famous Chinese sculptor—Mr. Liu Kaiqv saw the statues, he said:“This is a real human society, an unforgettable, emotional and beautiful realm.”Another extraordinary aspect is that the powerful iron guards and the mild clay maidservants make a vivid contsast, as didn't happen occasionally. Those ancient anonymous craftsmen made the clay breathe through the philosophic dialectics and the artistic balance. How wonderful it is!

The beauty of Jinci Temple is more than these. The nature gives it mysterious charm, too. The clear Never Aging Spring has not only brought up many generations here but also make Jinci Temple something of South China. Many poets and writers have eloquently described the beauty of the Never Aging Spring. For example:“the water of the Never Aging Spring is as clear as crystal and just as precious”written by Li Bai in the Tang Dynasty. The endless spring water makes Jinci Temple active and provides it with unlimited vitality. There're over 20 aged trees, which are more than 1,000 years old, especially the Zhou Cypress and the Sui Locust Tree. It is said that the Zhou Cypress at the side of the Saint Mother Hall was planted in the Zhou Dynasty about 3,000 years ago. It leans on a young cypress and looks like a winding dragon. Thus, it is called the Dragon Cypress. Ouyang Xiu, a poet in the Song Dynasty, praised it when he wrote,“The mysterious power of the land has given birth to many beautiful plants so that the cypress is too ancient to tell its age and strength clearly.” Judging from the poem, we can see that the tree has been graceful since 900 years ago . The Zhou Cypress, the Never Aging Spring and Figures of Song Dynasty Maidservants have been called Three Wonders of Jinci Temple for a long time.

Three Wonders of Jinci

With its long history and peculiar scenery, Jinci Temple has attracted many literati and scholars since before. The first emperor of the Sui Dynasty, the Second Emperor of the Tang Dynasty and the first emperor of Song Dynasty all visited Jinci Temple. They looked around, and wrote many beautiful poems and compositions. They left more than 300 stone tablets marked with important inscriptions, among which the stone tablet with an inscription written by Li Shimin—the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty is the most precious. In 646, Li Shimin came here on his way back to the capital from the battlefield against the ancient Korea. Looking back upon his early life, he signed with emotion and wrote a composition and had it carved on a stone tablet. This is how the stone tablet that proclaimed, in wonderful calligraphy, the emperor's political views in his later life came into being.

In 1959, Mr. Guo Muoruo wrote a poet that won universal praise—Visit Jinci Temple, after traveling Jinci Temple. It goes:“The Saint Mother was Yi Jiang and the story of Knighting Brother makes the history long. The Sui Locust Tree and the Zhou Cpress are aged and the Song Palace and Tang Stone Tablet make a splendor. With the Flying Bridge arraying the Never Aging Spring gurgles . Amidst the forty-three beautiful figures, laughter and great humor feel senses.”

Encircled by pretty mountains, infused with a pleasant air, dotted by large, aged pines and cypresses and with magnificent buildings and pavilios, Jinci Temple always makes tourists long to stay. It is really a good place of interest, recreation, entertainment, and adventure.

Traffic Notes

It takes 20 minutes from the Wusu airport to Jinci temple by the express way.Buses 804、848 and 856 can lead directly to Jinci Temple.

Working Hours

8:00--18:00 [April--October]

8:30--17:00 [November--March]

Resote Places Nearby

13 kilos away from Buddhist Caves in Heavenly Dragon Mountain

3 kilos away from Taoist Caves in Dragon Mountain

6 kilos away from Taishan Temple

50 kilos away from Qiao Jia Da Yuan in QiXian

90 kilos away from Ancient City Wall in Pingyao