Temple of Mystery

sights / Religious

Temple of Mystery information

Sūzhōu , China
Guanqian Jie; 观前街
Getting there
Metro: Lindun Lu or Leqiao
admission ¥10
Opening hours
Something wrong?
Submit a correction

Lashed by electronic music from the shops alongside, the Taoist Temple of Mystery stands in what was once Sūzhōu’s old bazaar, a rowdy entertainment district with travelling showmen, acrobats and actors. The temple dates from 1181 and is the sole surviving example of Song architecture in Sūzhōu. The complex contains several elaborately decorated halls, including the huge Sānqīng Diàn (三清殿; Three Purities Hall), which is supported by 60 pillars and capped by a double roof with upturned eaves.

The hall is home to three huge statues of Yuqing , Shangqing and Taiqing (the Three Purities); look out for the one-horned ox (独角神牛; dújiǎo shénníu ) that conveyed Laozi on his travels; there are also shrines to Tianhou, clothed in a pink robe, and the Jade Emperor. Note the antique carved balustrade around the hall, which dates to the Five Dynasties period (10th century). The blank Wordless Stele stands just east of the hall. The first main hall of the temple now serves as a jewelry showroom.