The Jinci or Jin Temple, founded about 1,400 years ago and expanded during the following centuries, is the most prominent temple complex in Shanxi, China. Located 16 miles (25 km) to the southeast of downtown Taiyuan City, it is a combination of historical cultural relics and beautiful landscapes with a diverse collection of more than 100 sculptures, buildings, terraces, and bridges.
The best known structure at Jinci is the Hall of the Holy Mother, the oldest building here which was constructed from 1023 to 1032 during the Song dynasty. It has carved wooden dragons coiled around the eight pillars that support its upward-curving double-eave roof. The complex includes a classical garden with a 3,000-year-old cypress dating from the Zhou Dynasty. 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. To the west of Hall of the Holy Mother is a temple dedicated to the deity Shuimu. Next to Jinci is the Wang Family Hall, a private villa built in 1532 for Wang Qiong, a high-ranking official during the Ming Dynasty.
There are three additional wonders here that atttract people from the world. These are: The Figures of The Maidservants, the Zhou Cypress and the Never Aging Spring. Each of the Figures of the Maidservants that stand in the Saint Mother Hall, colored clay sculptures made during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), are unique. Whether these statuettes are washing, sweeping or dancing, they are all sculpted in a vivid and natural way.
Address: Jinci town, Jinyuan district, Taiyuan, Shanxi
Opening hours: April to October: 8:00 – 18:00
December to next March: 8:30 – 17:00
Admission fee: April to October: 70 RMB
December to next March: 60 RMB
Transportation: Take bus No. 308, 856, 804 then get off at Jincigongyuan station
Recommended visit time: 3-4 hours