Kaiyuan Temple locates at Jingyuan Lane of Gulou District. There are many precious cultural relics in the temple. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Fujian Province. With the history of more than 1,300 years, the existing main temples were built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In 1982, it was listed as the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit.
Historic Kaiyuan Temple
The Kaiyuan Temple is 260 meters long from north to south and 300 meters wide from east to west, occupying an area of 78,000 square meters.
Kaiyuan Temple was founded in 549 of the Southern Dynasty (420-589), whose original name was Dayun Temple. At the beginning of Tang Dynasty (618-907), it was named as Longxing Temple. In 686, it was known as the Lianhua Temple. It was renamed as Kaiyuan Temple in 738. The temple was rebuilt several times in the past dynasties.
Main buildings in Kaiyuan Temple
Tianwang Hall locates after the main gate of Kaiyuan Temple. The existing building was built in 1925. The couplet on the stone pillars is from Zhu Xi, a great philosopher of the Southern Song Dynasty. The famous monk Hongyi wrote that couplet. There are the Four Guardians and the Brahma statues in the hall, majestic and solemn.
Hall of Ceremony, also known as Ziyun Hall, is the main building of Kaiyuan Temple. The hall was built in 686 of Tang Dynasty. It suffered several disasters and reconstructions in Tang, Southern Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties successively. The existing building was built in 1637 of Ming Dynasty. The hall covers the area of 1,338 square meters with a height of 20 meters. There are 86 large stone pillars built in the hall. Twenty-four statues of "Feitian Musician" were carved on the brackets with exquisite carved Buddhist miraculous birds, Christian angels and Chinese flying sculptures.
Kaiyuan Temple has two towers on the east and west sides, both of them are five-story stone towers. The East Tower is also named as "Zhenguo Tower". It was originally built in 865 of Tang Dynasty. The tower was made of woods firstly. After several destructions, the materials were changed to bricks. The preserved tower nowadays was rebuilt in 1238 of Song Dynasty with a height of 48.24 meters.
The West Tower is also called the "Renshou Tower", which was built in 916, and was originally a seven-level wooden tower. Then it was rebuilt by stones. The preserved one was rebuilt in the Southern Song Dynasty. It is 44.06 meters high, with the similar scale as the East Tower. The two towers are the tallest twin stone towers in China.