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  Jinci Temple

The welcoming boughs of a multitude of ancient trees provide an eye-catching entrance to the temple. Beyond this, the numerous halls, cabinets, pavilions and bridges are guaranteed to keep any visitor enthralled. Jinci Temple is world-famous because it is an ancient ancestral temple, something which is rare in China.

Jinci Temple has a long history, which can be traced back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC to 711 BC), when King Cheng made his younger brother Yu a leader of one of his states. Yu was an intelligent leader who devoted all his energies to making the state prosperous, so his descendants built a temple for him after his death, in order to honor his achievement.

Saint Mother Hall, the oldest building in the temple, is one of the main reasons that so many visitors come to the temple. Together with the Flying Bridge across the Fish Pond, and the Offerings Hall, these exquisite buildings provide evidence of a new era in Chinese architecture. For example, the Flying Bridge across the Fish Pond is the only one of its kind that exists now; accordingly, it plays an important role in an investigation of the ancient bridges of China.

Jinci Temple was, to a certain extent, an imperial garden. Accordingly, some three hundred tablets were inscribed for it with writings by emperors, officials and poets, and these now line a scenic path in the temple. The most famous stele was written by the Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty in 646, and it was kept in a pavilion which is now known as 'Zhen Guan Bao Han Pavilion'. Taizong was one of the great emperors of Chinese history. The time from which he inherited the throne from his father became known as the Prosperity of Zhenguan, and people referred to the calligraphy written by him as Bao Han, meaing a kind of treasure.

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