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Giant Buddha Temple

Giant Buddha Temple is located in Zhangye, Gansu Province. Zhangye is a historic city in the midway in the Hexi Corridor along the Silk Road. The Giant Buddha Temple is the centerpiece of the city. The Giant Buddha Temple is the largest architectural relic in Gansu Province of the Western Xia (1038-1227) period. It was built in 1098 and restored for several times in Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The temple complex consists of the Giant Buddha Hall, the Buddhist Classics Hall, and a Clay Pagoda. The gold-plated and painted Giant Buddha lies in the middle of the Giant Buddha hall. The whole Buddha is 34.5 meters long and 7.5 meters wide between its two shoulders, with feet of 4 meters and ears of 2 meters. It is the largest reclining Buddha in China. Its calm expression and gentle lines make a deeply impression of visitors. Behind the Buddha are ten disciples, and in two side halls stand 18 Saintly Warriors. Colorful murals are hanging against the walls of the hall, which depict episodes in the Mountain-sea Sutra (an ancient Chinese encyclopedia) and the Journey to the West (a celebrated novel written in the Ming Dynasty).

More than 6000 tomes of lectures are stored in the Buddhist Classics Hall, some of them were written in gold and silver. The four miniature pagodas in the Clay Pagoda are also rarely seen in other pagodas.

The Italian traveler Marco Polo, attracted by the magnificent architecture of the Giant Buddha Temple and the prosperity of Zhangye city, lived here for more than a year.

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