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Home Travel in Shanxi Jinci Temple - Birthplace of Tang Dynasty
Jinci Temple - Birthplace of Tang Dynasty
Travel in Shanxi

Jinci Temple

Jinci Temple (jìn cí 晋祠) was constructed in the Western Zhou (xī zhōu 西周) dynasty (11th century BC), and locates in the southwest of Taiyuan (tài yuán 太原) of Shanxi (shān xī 山西) province. Jinci is one of the only precious historical and cultural heritages which collects ancient worship buildings, gardens, sculptures, murals and stone arts, and also is one of the most brilliant architecture in the 7th Century to the 12th Century.


Jinci in WinterJinci temple was named “Tangshuyu Temple” (táng shū yú cí 唐叔虞祠) and was for commemorating Tangshuyu (táng shū yú 唐叔虞) in Jin state (jìn guó 晋国). Shuyu (shū yú 叔虞) was a person who good at using Jin water (jìn shuǐ 晋水) to irrigation and developing agriculture, so that people can live and work in peace and contentment in Tang (táng 唐) dynasty. After Shuyu died, people choose this beautiful shrine dedicated to him, so that named "Tang Shu Yu Temple." Then, Shuyu`s son succeeded, he changed the name of a dynasty from Tang to Jin (jìn 晋), because the Jin water was flowing within Jin boundary. (That is also the same reason of why shanxi province called Jin for short today). After that, this temple named Jinci temple.

Jinci in SpringDozens of ancient classical gardens can be visited in Jinci. Elegant and comfortable environment, magnificent buildings and superb statues are renowned in the world. You can get a tour in Jinci from middle, north and south three different ways. Middle part is a axis of Jinci from the main entrance, and beginning at shuijingtai (shuǐ jìng tái 水镜台), via huixianqiao (huì xiān qiáo 会仙桥), jinrentai (jīn rén tái 金人台), duiyuefang (duì yuè fāng 对越坊), xiandian (xiàn diàn 献殿), zhonggulou (zhōng gǔ lóu 钟鼓楼), yuzhaofeiliang (yú zhǎo fēi liáng 鱼沼飞梁) to Hall of Saintly Mother of Jinci Memorial Temple. That is the main part of Jinci.

WenchanggongNorth part is starting at wenchanggong (wén chāng gōng 文昌宫), via dongyueci (dōng yuè cí 东岳祠), guandimaio (guān dì miào 关帝庙), sanqingci (sān qīng cí 三清祠), tangshuci (táng shū cí 唐叔祠), chaoyangdong (cháo yáng dòng 朝阳洞), daifengxuan (dài fēng xuān 待风轩), santaige (sān tái gé 三台阁), dushutai (dú shū tái 读书台) and luzuge (lǚ zǔ gé 吕祖阁). Most buildings in this part are constructed according to hypsography. South part is beginning at shengyinglou (shèng yíng lóu 胜瀛楼), throught baiheting (bái hè tíng 白鹤亭), sanshengci (sān shèng cí 三圣祠), zhenquting (zhēn qù tíng 真趣亭), nanlaoquanting (nán lǎo quán tíng 难老泉亭), shuimulou (shuǐ mǔ lóu 水母楼) to gongshuzici (gōng shū zǐ cí 公输子祠). The buildings in this part are most like the style of jiangnan garden ( jiāng nán yuán lín 江南园林).

Main Attractions

Hall of Saintly Mother of Jinci Memorial Temple
Hall of Saintly Mother of Jinci Memorial TempleHall of Saintly Mother of Jinci Memorial Temple is the most famous building in Jinci, which created in Song dynasty. It said that Saintly Mother was Jiyu (jī yú 姬虞)`s mother. This temple was formerly known as "lady temple”, because there has 43 maid sculptures inside. These statues are valuable resource for studying sculpture and clothing in Song dynasty. In the right side of Jinci Memorial Temple, it has a millennium trees named “Wolongzhoubai ” (wò lóng zhōu bǎi 卧龙周柏). In addition, Nanlaoquan (nán lǎo quán 难老泉) is flowing from breaking rocks and pours out all the year round. Therefore, the maid sculptures Wolongzhoubo and Nanlaoquan names “ Jincisanjue” (jìn cí sān jué 晋祠三绝)

WolongzhoubaiMaid sculptureNanlaoquan

Yuzhaofeiliang Yuzhaofeiliang (yú zhǎo fēi liáng 鱼沼飞梁)
Yuzhaofeiliang is a cross- shaped bridge and built in the Song dynasty. It locates in the front of Hall of Saintly Mother of Jinci Memorial Temple. The unique shape is the only extant example of the ancient bridge in China.

Shuzhuanglou (shū zhuāng lóu 梳妆楼)
ShuzhuanglouShuzhuanglou names shuimulou (shuǐ mǔ lóu 水母楼) as well. Shuimu (shuǐ mǔ 水母) statue made by copper gold and sits on the urn, hair unfinished but appears calm and at ease. As story said, shuimu `s surname was Liu (liú 刘), who lived the village near of Jinci and she married with someone in Jinci. Unfortunately, her mother-in-law treated her so bad and asked her carry water from a place where far away their home. After her carried water back, her mother-in-law just used a little bit and judged the water too dirty. In fact, it was deliberately making things difficulty. One day, Liu meets a guy on her way home; this guy gave her a gold whip and told her the water will be full when she used it. After Liu tried, it worked very well, and then she did not have to carry water everyday. Soon, Liu`s sister found this secret and want to try it. She picked this gold whip up, suddenly; water unstoppable spouted out from urn and almost flooded the village. When Liu heard this news, she was doing up her hair, so she decided to sit on the urn for stopping the water. People in village were survived, but she never left.

Shengsi (shèng sì 圣寺)
ShengsiShengsi is located in the south part of Jinci. It used to be a villa of general weichijingdei (wèi chí jìng dé 尉迟敬德) in Tang dynasty. In addition, Buddha Temple located in shengsi. It first built in the Sui (suí 隋) dynasty, rebuilt in the Song (sòng 宋) dynasty and reconstructed in Qing (qīng 清) dynasty. It has 30 meters high in total and decorates with glass in each gate.

Jinci Festival

Jinci TempleLantern Festival (the 15th of the first month in the lunar calendar)
It is the most popular folk festival and also known as "Red fire”. On this day, everyone will be base stone up and fire at them in their yard, which is for praying to get a good life in the following year. There will also be held lion dance, playing dragon, walking on stilts and fireworks etc.

Longtaitou (lóng tái tóu 龙抬头) Festival (the second days of February in the lunar calendar)
In this day, people is eating pancakes. This is for praying peace in the following year.

Jinci TempleYulan (yú lán jiē 盂兰节) Festival ( the 15th of July in the lunar calendar)
It is known as "Halloween" in China, most family will be sweeping their ancestral tombs in this day.

Chongyang (chóng yáng jiē 重阳节) Festival ( the 9th of September in the lunar calendar)
Most family will be enjoy the chrysanthemum together and eat special soft rice cake.

Location: Jinci town (jìn cí zhèn 晋祠镇), Jinci qu (jìn cí qū 晋祠区), Taiyuan ,Shanxi province
Transportation:Take bus 308, 856, 804 at Taiyuan train station
                     By air to Wuxiu (wǔ xiǔ 武宿) airport of Taiyuan, 20 minutes can get Jinci by freeway
Recommended time to visit: More than 4 hours
Opening hours: 8:00-18:00 (April to October)
                      8:30-17:00 (November to March)
Ticket: RMB 50 (it changes in midseason)
1. Best time to go: May to June of summer and September to October of autumn
2. Temple Fair will be held at second day of July in the lunar calendar at every year. Taiyuan urban and rural people all join in this temple fair. If you like fun, then this time to Jinci, you can get a distinctive Jinci tour.