Exterior of Wan Song Laoren Tower pagoda in Beijing's Xisi district

©Thomas O'Malley/Lonely Planet

Wansong Laoren Pagoda


Dating back to the Mongol Yuan dynasty but partially rebuilt in the 1980s, this nine-tiered brick pagoda sits in a lovely walled garden of pomegranate trees and grapevines, with a hotchpotch of historical hutong timber frames and stone carvings scattered about. A bookshop sells old postcards and pots of jasmine tea.

The lǎorén (old man) in the tower’s name refers to Wansong Xingxiu (万松行秀), a Zen Buddhist master from the Yuan dynasty.

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