A few more days of pedaling and stepping, stubbornly refusing to miss my daily goals, and another postcard arrives to reward me.
The email text tells me more about the area, the history, other archeological finds and points of interest, including this one…
The Hanging Monastery, located 40mi (64km) northwest of the city, is a stunning piece of engineering. It was built into a cliff 246ft (75m) above the ground by a monk about 1,500 years ago. The structure is resting on oak cross beams that are fitted into holes carved in the cliffs. This is one of a few temples that combines the three Chinese philosophies: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the city walls of Datong have been fully rebuilt, complete with watchtowers, drawbridges and a moat. Inside is a combination of 6-storey apartment blocks and old courtyard homes. Temples, monasteries and palaces are mixed in with shops and restaurants. The highlight is the surviving 14th century screen wall named Nine-Dragon-Wall. It is 147ft (45m) long and 26ft (8m) tall with reliefs depicting nine different dragons. The wall was originally in front of a palace, designed to protect homes from evil spirits and negative energy. Ironically, the screen continues to exist but the palace is long gone.
So there’s that!
Looking ahead to the day this will post – which will be 2/2/22 – I’m wishing the groundhog a good day, and my friend Vince the best of birthdays! 🎂