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Xuanmiao Taoist Temple

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Xuanmiao Temple (Chinese: 玄妙观; pinyin: Xuánmiào Guàn; literally: "Temple of Mystery")

Xuanmiao Taoist Temple (玄妙观)
Xuanmiao Temple is a prominent Taoist temple with a long history, which is one of the oldest Taoist tempelsin China. It located at the center of old Suzhou City, lies at the entrance of Guanqian Street, a famed business pedestrian street in Suzhou. A lane called Gong Xiang (宫巷) along north-south direction leads directly to the gate. 

Xuanmiao Temple was built in 276AD, the Western Jin Dynasty and originally serving as a religious retreat for the ancient Zhangyi Taoist sect. It was initially named Zhangqing Taoist Temple. Unfortunately, it was ruined by wars during the Southern Song Dynasty and restored in the region of Emperor Xiaozong of Song, and was renamed Xuanmiao Guan in 1264. And in the region of the Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed as Yuanmiao Guan to avoid naming taboo because the emperor's personal name, Xuanye (玄烨), contained the Chinese character xuan (). Later, the locals reused the name of Xuanmiao Taoist Temple until now. 

Xuanmiao Temple is now a popular tourist attraction. The Hall of Three Qings, whose majestic upward-sloping roofs are sheathed in glittering black tiles cannot missed.

Features
Zhengshanmen
The first structure as well as the main gate of the temple that visitors see is the Zheng Shan Men. It was constructed wood during Tang Dynasty. The Zheng Shan Men is aligned south to north, with the main entrance facing south. It has two side entrances, in the east and west. It suffered some damages in the eighteenth century and had to be rebuilt in Qing Dynasty. The temple houses six statues of Taoist gods. There are also idols of four marshals and two generals. The temple's flank has a tablet commemorating the restoration of the temple.

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The Hall of Three Qings(三清殿)
The most magnificent building of the Mysterious Taoist Temple is the Hall of Three Qings, it is the most notable building within the temple and it is regarded as the "national treasure" because it a wooden hall of the Southern Song Dynasty, which is spacious, touwering and solemn with the largest scale in the south of Yangtze River. The Hall of Three Qings holds a very important position in the history of building in China.

This hall covers an area of 1,100 square meters, 44 meters in wide and 25 meters in length. In front of the temple is a broad heterogeneously built open-air terrace of green stones. The terrace is surrounded by finely engraved railings of green stones in the eastern, southern and western sides, with a stepping battlement in each side. The relief sculptures of birds, beasts, figures and stories on the arch plate are after the customs handed down from the stone relieves of the Han Dynasties and are extremely exquisite, which are the relics from the Five Dynasties and the Southern Song Dynasty. On the sunk panel of the temple's ceiling are all magnificent paintings of cranes, deer, clouds, and the instruments used by the Eight Suzhou_Attractions_Xuanmiao_Taoist_Temple.jpgImmortals in the Taoist legend. The pedestal for the Statue of Xumi at the center of the hall is elaborately wrought.

Figure of Taoist Temple
There are three statues of the ancestors of the Taoist faction of Three Seniors, Taiqing, Yuqing and Shangqing. They are onsecrated on the pedestal, each of the statues is more than 15 meters high and is with brilliant golden lights, dignified postures, radiating vigor and natural and quality clothes, which makes them the excellent works in the Taoist sculptures of the Song Dynasty. 

Tablets
The Wordless Tablet: At the east of The Hall of Three Qings, you will find a Wordless Tablet, it is about 7 meter high and 1.8 meters in wide. Wordless Tablet was engraved by Fang xiaoru in Ming Dynasty. It said that in Ming Dynasty, Zhudi, who was emperor order Fang xiaoru to make an imperial edict, but he refused and was sentence to death. All his friends and family members were die at the moment, including the tablet became a wordless one. The local were at a loss, and the Wordless Tablet was kept.

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Laozi Tablet: At the west of the Hall of Three Qings, There is a Laozi Tablet, it is 1.8 meters high and 0.9 meters in wide. It is a stone portrait of Confucius carved by Wu Daozi in the Southern Song Dynasty, above the paotrait, there are some characters written by Yanzhenqing, the outstanding of the calligraphy and the delicate sculpture with great age makes the tablet a worthy one. 

Transportation
How to get to Xuanmiao Taoist Temple
Bus Routes: Take tourist bus No. 1, 2, 20 or bus No. 101 go directly to Guanqian Street. Then walk few minutes to the Xuanmiao Taoist Temple.

Information
Admission Fee: CNY 20
Opening Time: 07:30 -- 16:30 (Monday to Friday)
                    07:30 -- 16:45(Saturday to Sunday)
Address: No.94 Guanqian Street, Suzhou
Tel: 0512 6727 6616  

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