Kāiyuán Temple

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

South on Yanzhao Nandajie this temple originally dates from AD 540 but was destroyed in 1966, the first year of the Cultural Revolution. Little remains apart from some leftover good vibes (it’s a popular spot for qì gōng and taichi practitioners), the Bell Tower and the drawcard dirt-brown Xumi Pagoda , a well-preserved and unfussy early-Tang-dynasty brickwork, nine-eaved structure, topped with a spire. Its round arched doors and carved stone doorway are particularly attractive, as are the carved figures on the base.

Also displayed is a colossal stone bìxì statue – China’s largest – near the entrance, with a vast chunk of its left flank missing and its head propped up on a plinth. Dating from the late Tang era, the creature was excavated in 2000 from a street in Zhèngdìng.