China's Top Religious Sites

China is a multi-religious country. Taoism, Buddhism, Islamism, Protestantism and Catholicism are the main stream religions in China. Buddhism was introduced thousand years ago and there are millions Buddhists in China. Taoism is the native religion and Protestantism and Catholicism was introduced in the late Qing Dynasty. There are many famous religious sites in China.

Our China Highlights has listed nine world-known religious sites for you. You can also contact us for a cutomised tour.

1. The Mogao Grottoes

the mogao grottosBuddha in the Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes, commonly known as "the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas", are famous for their beautiful frescos and statues. The work of the Mogao Grottoes spanned a period of 1,000 years.

There are 735 caves, 45,000 square meters of frescos, and 2,415 color statues currently exist in the Mogao Grottoes. They are regarded as the largest and most plentiful Buddhist grottoes in the world. In 1987, the Mogao Grottoes were listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

2. The Longmen Grottoes

longmen grottoesThe Longmen Grottoes

In 2000, the Longmen Grottoes were listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. They are one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art with 100,000 statues of Buddha, and 1,400 caves.

As Construction continued for a long time, across many dynasties, the Longmen Grottoes reflect the development and change of China's ancient politics, economy, religion, culture, and other fields.

3. The Yungang Grottoes

yungang grottoesThe Yungang Grottoes

The are one of the largest collections of grottoes and classic masterpieces of Buddhist art in China. They are as well known as Luoyang's Longmen Grottoes, and Dunhuang's Mogao Grottoes. There are 252 grottoes with over 51,000 Buddha statues. In 2001, the Yungang Grottoes were included on UNESCO's list of World Cultural Heritage.

4. The Leshan Giant Buddha

leshan giant buddhaThe Leshan Giant Buddha

The Leshan Giant Buddha is one of the famous art treasures of the Tang Dynasty. "The Mountain is a Buddha, the Buddha is a Mountain". The 71-meter high and 24-meter wide Leshan Buddha is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. The Leshan Giant Buddha is a dual World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site, added in 1996.

5. The Potala Palace

potala palaceThe Potala palace

In 1994, the Potala Palace was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. It was built by King Songtsan Gampo for his bride, Princess Wencheng.

After the 17th century, the Potala Palace became the palace residence of the Dalai Lama and the theocratic center of Tibet. Nowadays the Potala Palace is a museum, which is filled with countless artistic, cultural, and religious treasures.

6. Shaolin Temple

mt.songshanshaolin templeSongshan Shaolin Temple

Built in 495 of the Northern Wei Dynasty, Shaolin Temple is the cradle of Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Kung Fu. It became famous in the Tang Dynasty and has enjoyed a fine reputation at home and abroad. The Shaolin Temple was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on August 1, 2010.

7. Big Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Wild Goose PagodaBig Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 652 of the Tang Dynasty as a Buddhist pagoda for Xuanzang, the Buddhist translator and traveler, to hold sutras and figurines of Buddha that were brought to China from India.

With a simple style and towering structure, this grand and solemn pagoda is an architectural marvel. It is considered as the symbol of the ancient capital of Xi'an.

8. The Three Pagodas

Three PagodasThe Three Pagodas

As the name suggests, the Three Pagodas are comprised of three independent pagodas, forming a symmetric triangle. It is one of the South China's ancient Buddhist architectures, and the symbol of Yunnan ancient history and culture. These elegant, balanced, and stately pagodas are a must-see landmark of Dali City.

9. Idgar Mosque

the itigar mosqueIdgar Mosque

The Idgar Mosque, Kashgar, is an Islamic ancient construction with strong religious features. Built in 1442, the Idgar Mosque is the largest mosque in China, and one of the three most influential mosques in Central Asia.

The Idgar Mosque is not only a sacred mosque, but also a place for festival celebration. There are more than twenty thousand Muslims in the Idgar Mosque during festivals.

Further Reading

Hi, I'm Ruru Zhou
I updated this article on March 31, 2014
See all my travel articles
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