Suzhou is home to a colorful collection of China’s most cherished temples, from active monasteries to ancient remains. Whether you’re on a religious pilgrimage. Or want to visit some of the greatest (and oldest) examples of Buddhist architecture and culture.

Favorite landmarks

Yunyan Pagoda, Suzhou’s oldest pagoda, lies at the pinnacle of Tiger Hill.

This 1000-year-old, eight-sided stone temple, is also known as Huqiu Tower. Rises seven floors high and has become the unofficial emblem of Suzhou. Thousands of people witness the temple’s famous tilt, which is almost as severe as Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

Xuanmiao Shrine, or Temple of Mystery. Is located along busy Guanqian Street and is considered Suzhou’s only surviving example of Song era architecture. It now serves as the city’s principal Taoist temple. Three Purities Hall is crowned by dramatic eaves and has a collection of enormous pillars. artistically inlaid with Taoist figures.

Visitors are typically drawn in by the mesmerizing songs of the temple monks. Which are considered the hub of Taoist music in Suzhou. Hanshan Temple, also known as Cold Mountain Temple. Has a history of over 1,500 years and is famous for its bell-ringing event on New Year’s Eve. As well as its inclusion in the poetry “Mooring for the Night at Fengqiao Bridge”. You can find the poetry on a stone tablet at Maple Bridge. 

Among the temple’s other highlights is its Grand Prayer Hall. Sutra Library, and Puming Pagoda, which has one of the most outstanding views in the city.  

Hidden Gems

Xiyuan Temple is Suzhou’s largest Buddhist monastery, covering about 2.5 acres. The 700-year-old masterpiece is also known as West Garden Temple. Showcases a perfect blend of architecture, sculpture, and gardens. The golden walls and curling eaves of the temple lead visitors to Arhat Hall, which has 500 life-sized sculptures of gilded Buddhist saints.

The tranquil Life-Releasing Pond may be found inside its thriving landscape. Turtles are thought to have been liberated from prison and are now living amid the temple’s old trees and aromatic flora for the previous 300 years. With a history of 1,700 years and a height of approximately 250 feet (76 meters) 

The oldest and tallest pagoda south of the Yangtze River is Suzhou’s North Temple Pagoda, also known as Beisi Pagoda or Gratitude-Paying Temple. The nine-story pagoda, often covered in mist, dominates the skyline with its octagonal structure and hypnotic brick-and-wooden façade. Climb the spiral staircase to the summit on a clear day for panoramic views of Suzhou and beyond. 

The Suzhou Stone Inscription Museum, Confucian Temple was China’s first temple school. But it is most known for hosting four of the Song dynasty’s (1137-1279) outstanding steles.

There are 3,000 inscriptions and 10,000 rubbings in the temple’s extensive collection. So there are lots to see at this treasured shrine. Discover a stele from 1229 that depicts the city’s historic canal systems. Roadways, and fortifications, or gaze upon one of the world’s earliest astronomical charts. 

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