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   Undertoad  Wednesday Jun 28 01:46 PM

6/28/2006: Hanging monastery

I've never seen this before and so it was remarkable to me.

And since there isn't even a Wikipedia entry for this amazing landmark, found in the Shanxi province, maybe a lot of you haven't seen it.

Not hanging, literally, but cantilevered into the side of this rock face is the Hengshan hanging monastery.

Says here the monastery dates back over 1400 years to the Northern Wei Dynasty. However, most of what you see today are reconstructions made during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties.

Well at least they put in a handrail. Who's first up those 700-year-old stairs?

wolf  Wednesday Jun 28 01:51 PM

The pavilion to the far right is roughly 15 stories off the ground? I'm getting queasy just looking at this.

(for the record, I am afraid of falling, not of heights. Once I am assured that I will not plummet to my death (like going to the top of the CN Tower), I really enjoy myself. I get equally queasy on small stepstools and steep curbs)

jinx  Wednesday Jun 28 01:55 PM

Wow - that's really cool... reminds me of the Anasazi cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.

Happy Monkey  Wednesday Jun 28 01:56 PM

When I grow up, I want my house to look just like that.

Or maybe the IntelSat building. I'm not sure yet.

Ibby  Wednesday Jun 28 02:00 PM

Mmm, musta missed that one. I'll add it to the list.

It's hard to hit 7000 years of history and landmarks in three years.

Pie  Wednesday Jun 28 02:09 PM

Originally Posted by Undertoad
However, most of what you see today are reconstructions made during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties.
That's what cracks me up -- the "modern restorations" are ~600 years old!

glatt  Wednesday Jun 28 02:36 PM


YellowBolt  Wednesday Jun 28 04:01 PM


Stormieweather  Wednesday Jun 28 04:13 PM

Awesome. I want one just like it!

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jun 28 04:13 PM

They look a little leery of the railings.

Elspode  Wednesday Jun 28 04:38 PM

Is that bird shit streaking the sheer cliff faces above?

capnhowdy  Wednesday Jun 28 05:40 PM

Prolly don't have to worry about privacy.
Great pics and informative links too. Thanks.

And yes, I had to. I pressed the fart button. I doesn't fart.

Griff  Wednesday Jun 28 05:45 PM

Hmmmm... some of the quarries around here might yield similar sheer rock walls...

rkzenrage  Wednesday Jun 28 05:56 PM

Just beautiful... thanks for the post.

capnhowdy  Wednesday Jun 28 07:15 PM

Originally Posted by Griff
Hmmmm... some of the quarries around here might yield similar sheer rock walls...
If you build it we will come.

milkfish  Thursday Jun 29 01:55 AM

The first two pictures look like the place is made of Lego and about six feet off the ground.

The third one, not so much.

Sundae  Thursday Jun 29 06:46 AM

I read a book that featured a very similar structure - Dan Simmons or Sheri S Tepper I think. Far too similar to have been by chance, the descriptions were vivid enough to stay with me even if the book has not.

Beautiful, but a terrifying prospect for me (I have a similar fear to Wolf but need more reassurance as I'm not physically brave).

TropicFever  Thursday Jun 29 07:44 AM

I can't imagine how it actually stays attached to the rock face. It can't be just resting on that ledge.
I guess they don't make Monastery Glue like they used to.

Griff  Thursday Jun 29 07:58 AM

I assume they drilled into the rock and slid supporting beams deep into it. A cantilever like that would be very strong and rigid. There probably isn't even any bounce in the floors. If you build on those beams you can keep the rain off the supports keeping them dry and you've got construction capable of lasting Chinese amounts of time.

Spexxvet  Thursday Jun 29 09:22 AM

Where's the garage? You don't expect me to walk up there, do you?

Nothing But Net  Thursday Jun 29 09:39 AM

There are houses in the canyons of Los Angeles that are pretty much like that.

Elspode  Thursday Jun 29 01:14 PM

Except that they're filled with coke and pron starlets instead of rice and monks.

Clodfobble  Thursday Jun 29 03:05 PM

And within the next 20 years, an earthquake will probably cause them to fall right off. I'm betting on the Chinese outlasting the Californians.

footfootfoot  Thursday Jun 29 09:14 PM

Originally Posted by Griff've got construction capable of lasting Chinese amounts of time.
Chinese amounts of time.


I'm getting vertigo just thinking about the enormity of that.

There was a David Whyte tape I had wherein he spoke about a similar monastery built on cliffs, maybe this one, where the novice mon ks would be sealed up in caves for three years, three months, and three days. Their food lowered to them by rope each day and their waste carried up.

He made a joke referring to a line in a poem by Mary Oliver.

I think it may have been these cliffs.

seakdivers  Thursday Jun 29 09:47 PM

Ugh....very cool, but no thanks. I don't handle heights very well at all.

Tse Moana  Friday Jun 30 08:48 AM

Oh my, that's amazing, and it looks wonderful. Thanks for posting this.

Your reply here?

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