The Whole Picture: Hanging Monastery

| September 18, 2010 | 5 Comments
hangingmon The Whole Picture: Hanging Monastery

Xuankong Si Hanging Monastery, Shanxi Province

The Xuankong Si Hanging Monastery stands at the foot of Mt Hengshan, 65km from Datong in Mainland China. As it hangs on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge more than 50m above the ground, it’s been dubbed the Hanging Monastery. Built in 491, the structure has survived more than 1400 years. The extant monastery was largely rebuilt and maintained during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and through the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Inspired by publications like Life Magazine, National Geographic and online experiences like’s photo blog, images marked as ‘The Whole Picture’  are intended to highlight high-quality, amazing imagery. Kathryn and Daniel will post ‘The Whole Picture‘  irregulary.  Like all of our photos, it is an original photo not otherwise on the site—it might be fresh from our camera, a new scan of some old film, a product of our fooling around with Photoshop, or a file from the archive that we haven’t posted yet.

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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. Check him out on Google+.

Comments (5)

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  1. Emily says:

    That’s incredible! I’m amazed that the monastery has lasted so long, especially since some of it looks wooden (though I may be wrong). It looks beautiful, but I would be a little afraid to cross that rickety old bridge!

  2. Shannon OD says:

    Wow, what a stunning monastery – and to have weathered time so well is incredible!

  3. Laura says:

    Breathtaking! Tomorrow I’ll go to Cuenca, Spain, to see the hanging houses from there.

  4. This is very cool. Can you walk around in it?

    • Daniel says:

      Hey Matt — absolutely. It’s tight. I’m a fairly big guy, and had to duck to get from room to room — and the railings are quite low, too, which makes it a little scary!

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