Guangji Temple

One of the most important Buddhist temples in Beijing, the origins of Guangji Temple date back to the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 AD). Of course, the buildings from that time were completely destroyed by war over the years and the Guangji Templestructure of the modern temple dates from the Ming Dynasty (although due to fires most of the buildings have been completely restored since then). The rebirth of the Guangji Temple began during the reign of Emperor Tianshun (1457-64) and the place of worship rose to even greater prominence due to the patronage of the Qing Dynasty emperors. A serene and peaceful temple, the grounds are dotted with old cypress trees and the buildings are quietly elegant. Set along the traditional north-south axis are an imposing entrance gate and four halls while there are also numerous side halls. The main Mahariva Hall is of most interest to tourists for the 2 meter tall bronze vessel (dating from 1793) that stands in front of it and for the fine, finger-painted fresco by a famous Qing Dynasty artists that covers the back wall. Unfortunately, there is no information in English about Guangji Temple around the grounds. Now the home of the Buddhist Association of China, admission to the temple is apparently free. At least it seems there is no one selling or checking tickets.

Admission: ¥5. Open: 8:30am-5pm.

Directions: Guangji Temple is on Fuchengmennei Dajie, about 50m west of the intersection with Xisi Dajie. Xisi subway station (Line 4) will take you to this intersection.