Temple of Mystery


Lashed by electronic music from the shops alongside, the Taoist Temple of Mystery stands in what was once Suzhou’s old bazaar, a rowdy entertainment district with travelling performers, acrobats and actors. The temple dates from 1181 and is one of the few surviving examples of Song architecture in Suzhou.

The huge Sānqīng Diàn (三清殿; Three Purities Hall) was closed for construction at the time of research but the side halls to Guanyin and the gods of wealth, longevity and literature were still open. In front of Sānqīng Diàn, look out for the one-horned ox (独角神牛; dújiǎo shénníu) that conveyed Laozi on his travels to the West.