Jinan Shimen Pagoda, China
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As the earliest existed pagodas in China, the Shimen Pagoda (Four Door Pagoda) is located east of the Shentong Temple ruins at the foot of the Qinglong Mountain in the Liubu Village, Licheng District, Jinan. It claims the title of beautiful "Libu historic site" in Jinan.
Built in 611, the Shimen Pagoda has four semicircular arched doors on its four sides. This is how the Shimen Pagoda got its name. The pagoda is a square ancient pagoda as high as, with about 1 meter thick walls built with big green stones. It is 15.04 meters high and each side is 7.4 meters wide.
On the top of the pagoda, there is the out flying eave with five layers. The pagoda body has 23 layers, each layer is paved with stone boards, gradually narrower from down to up, to the pagoda top it becomes a cone, these all make this pagoda not only unique but also simple.
There is a square pillar similar to the pagoda body in the center of the pagoda on the first floor of the Shimen Pagoda. Four sides of the square pillar are carved a holy Buddha statue sitting with crossed legs.
On the Buddha seat, there is an inscription in 544. From this, we know the Buddha statue was carved before building the pagoda. Behind the pagoda, there is a towering old cypress. The truck is so huge that it needs several men to get their arms around. The tree top is divided into nine branches, so people call this cypress "Liding Cypress".
Originally, there was a temple called "the Shentong Temple" in the west of the Shemen Pagoda. This temple was built in 351 when the Beginning Emperor ascended his throne and the pontiff named Langgong took the charge of building.
In Sui Dynasty, the Shentong Temple developed into a large temple with "tens of institutes, long corridor for thousands of years" and it became the Buddhism center in Shandong Province in Qing and Han Dynasties. Later suffered several generations' wars, it declined gradually.
The Shimen Pagoda was built when burning incense was prosperous in Shentong Temple. Since it was once a Buddhism resort, a lot of Buddhism historic sites such as the Thousand Buddha Hill, the Dragon and Tiger Pagoda and the Founder Forest near the Shimen Pagoda are preserved now.
According to the study of archaeologist and architect from home and abroad, it is very rare that the Shimen Pagoda possesses the construction style of Han Dynasty. At present, the construction of pagoda body and the Buddha statues inside the pagoda are still worth appreciating after more than one thousand years.
So in 1961, the Shimen Pagoda was listed into emphatic preservation area in Chinese. If you don't like historic sites, you can see peaks, flying waterfalls, flowing springs and full of green shades. It is really a beautiful scenic spot. From this, we can know why people call it "the beautiful Libu historic site".