Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ornamental Pagoda at the Liurong Temple in Guangzhou, China

During my last visit to China, I had a free day to wander around the city of Guangzhou. Percy, my Chinese friend, and I thought it'd be interesting to visit the Ornamental Pagoda at Liurong Temple in Guangzhou. Admission to the temple was about $.75. I was surprised to find out, that visitors were allowed to climb the pagoda for an additional $1.25. Of course, I jumped at the chance and climbed up. It was very interesting. At every floor, there were actually two floors. It's kind of hard to explain and I found this explanation online that can explain it better then I could:

"The octagonal, nine-storey, wood and brick pagoda is fifty-seven meters high, making it a fairly high one among ancient pagodas in south China. There is a hidden storey for each of the storeys above the first one, making the pagoda a structure of seventeen storeys. There are staircases for climbing up and down. The steeple is made of copper and iron. The copper mainstay, carved with a thousand images of Buddha, was cast in 1358 and bears nine tiers of discs. The steeple, including the bead on its top and the iron chains running from the top to other storeys of the pagoda, weighs five thousand kilogrammes."


Every storey is a little bit shorter then the last so by the time I reached the top, I was hunched over climbing the stairs. At the top, I was really surprised at how unbelieveably unsafe it was. Outside of the building, the floor was probably only 2.5' wide and leaned away from the building (probably to keep the rain flowing off the building). The only thing keeping me from falling off the top was this rickidy old wooden railing that was probably over 100 years old. A strong wind could have blown it off.

I was a little nervous being at the top, but for the most part I was O.K. The thought that this building (or the main structure of this building anyway) was built in 537 A.D. was both a comfort and a concern. Percy however, was a different story. When we reached the top, he took one look down and froze. I felt terrible for him. He sat down hugging the building saying that he didn't want to move. After some coaxing, I finally got him up and mobile enough to head back down. I sent him down with my camera so that he could get a picture of me at the top.


I also thought all the buildings looked nasty from the top. But one should remember this
is China, a communist country. Most buildings are bland and uniformed. Nothing flashy or too unique.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Very cool. So much history- it reminds me that our country is so young.