The Twin Pagoda Temple (Shuangtasi), officially known as Yongzuo Temple, located in the southeast of Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, is a temple containing two pagodas dating from the Ming dynasty. There are two 53-meter-tall pagodas standing in it, hence the name 'Twin Pagoda Temple'.
The East pagoda was established in 1597, and the West one in 1612 under the Emperor Wanli's order in 1608 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In charge of the pagoda’s construction was a high ranking monk, named Fodeng. By the 20th century, deterioration since construction had caused the East pagoda to slant from its center of gravity by 2.87 meters. In 1995, experts set about trying to correct the slant. They removed earth from underneath the pagoda and successfully corrected the pagoda's tilt.
The pagodas are the tallest set of twin pagodas in China. They are both eight-cornered, with the lowest floor being comparatively taller than the rest, the size of the upper floors progressively decreasing. The West Pagoda is 54.78 meters tall, with the lowest floor’s circumference being 4.16 meters. The pagoda’s eaves are painted with emerald green glaze. The East Pagoda is 53.3 meters high, and the lowest floor’s circumference is 4.36 meters. On top of the East pagoda are three magic gourds, with the upper two parts being made of copper.
Each of the pagodas has 13 stories which is made of bricks and stone. The exterior was sculptured in the shape of an octagon and decorated with the exquisite flying eaves. An internal staircase was added so that visitors can climb to the top of the pagoda and gaze far afield.
The temple contains approximately 260 stone steles, as it is the location where stele from temples in the area that are no longer extant were moved. The temple grounds also contain many poeny trees, one of which dates from the Ming Dynasty.
All of the buildings inside were constructed with bricks. The brick-carved posts and brackets perfectly demonstrate the features of ancient Chinese architecture. It's worth mentioning that a rare collection of steles have been stored here that contain the handwriting of famous ancient Chinese calligraphers from various dynasties such as Wang Xizhi (303-361), Yan Zhenqing (709-785), Liu Zongyuan (773-819), and Su Dongpo (1037-1101).
The 13-story Xuanwen Pagoda dates from the reign of Ming emperor Wanli and can be climbed. The adjacent pagoda dates from the same period but can not be climbed.
Address: Yongzuo Temple Street, Yingze district, Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province
Opening hours: 8:30-17:30
April to October: 30 RMB
November to the next March: 20 RMB
Transportation: Take bus No. 820 or 812 at the train station then get off at Shuangtasi station.
Recommended visit time: 3-4 hours
1. The 13-story Xuanwen Pagoda can be climbed while the adjacent pagoda can not be climbed.
2. The best time to pay a visit is in spring (April and May) when all the peony and cloves are in their full bloom.