Huayan Temple


Built by the Khitan during the Liao dynasty (AD 907–1125), this 66,000-sq-metre temple faces east, not south (it’s said the Khitan were sun worshippers) and is divided into two separate complexes. One of these is an active monastery (upper temple), while the other is a museum (lower temple). Dating from 1140, the impressive main hall of the Upper Temple (上华严寺, Shàng Huáyán Sì) is one of the largest Buddhist halls in China, with Ming murals and Qing statues within.

The rear hall of the Lower Temple (下华严寺, Xià Huáyán Sì) is the oldest building in Datong (1038), containing some remarkable Liao dynasty wooden sculptures. Side halls feature assorted relics from the Wei, Liao and Jin dynasties. Bus 38 runs here.

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