|Name:The Iron Pagoda|
Tel:No. 210 North Wall Street, Kaifeng
In the northeast of
City, the Iron Pagoda stands tall and erect. As a shining pearl representing the culture of the central plain, this Tower is world-renowned for its superb and exquisite architectural art and design. The Iron Pagoda, also called “Kaibao Pagoda”, was first built in the 1st year of the Huangyou emperor, in the Northern Song Dynasty (
1049 A.D.) and has a history of more than 900 years. As the Pagoda is made of glazed bricks and tiles in brown, it looks quite similar to iron from a distance; and hence acquired its present name, the Iron Pagoda.
The Pagoda is a 13-story octagon with a height of 55.88 meters. The width of the base is 4.16 meters. The upper floors gradually decrease in size until reaching the top floor. The surface of the Pagoda is covered in over 50 different design patterns including Feitian (literally meaning flying to the heavens, but is a representative of a flying sprit), Qilin (a kind of unicorn animal in legend), Buddhas, dancers, lions and so on. Therefore, the Pagoda is considered as, the masterpiece of brick inscription from the Song Dynasty. Besides its exquisite workmanship, the Pagoda is also famous for its being stable, this has allowed it to survive earthquakes, floods and storms.
According to the records, the original Pagoda was a wooden octagon tower with 13 stories, built in the Fubao courtyard of the
Temple, so it was once called “Fubao Pagoda”. Usually, Pagodas are related to Buddhism. In the Pagoda there are enshrined thousands of Buddha and bodhisattva figures; as well as the remains of King Asoka, all of which are preserved in the basement. The original Pagoda leaned to the northwest, which puzzled the people and was considered to be a construction mistake. The designer Yuhao explained that since
Kaifeng was situated on an alluvial plain without any mountains or hills, but with the frequent strong wind blowing from the northwest every year, the Pagoda would straighten within a century. Unfortunately, the magnificent wooden Pagoda was struck by lightning in 1055 (or 1049) after its completion in
982 A.D, leaving the forecast a puzzle in people’s mind. After the wooden one burned to the ground, the Iron Pagoda was built with glazed bricks and tiles in brown. To design such a 50 meters tall brick Pagoda was very demanding. As a result, the Pagoda turned out to be a significant achievement in architecture for its earthquake-proof structure, using a pillar in the center to sustain the whole building, which was tightly linked with every external brick and tile in the Pagoda.
The surface of the Pagoda is inlaid with figured bricks in exquisite patterns such as, Feitian, Qilin, Buddhas, dancers, lions and flowers. On the top is a bronze pearl in the shape of a calabash. So from a distance the Pagoda looks like a monk with a hat on. Uniquely, the windows of the Pagoda consist of open and closed designs. There are windows on each floor, but only one open window, and at different directions on each storey. And the so-called closed windows refer to those that are unable to be opened. From the window you have a bird’s eye view of the prosperous city and the
Yellow river weaving like a ribbon in the distance. This is one of the more famous spots in Bianjing, the former name of
Legend has it that there was a fountain under the Iron Pagoda connecting
City with the remote sea. Once the water came rushing up from that fountain, the whole city would be flooded. So the Pagoda was built to bring the fountain under control. It is really interesting that the Pagoda inclined toward the wind, while its base was to prevent floods. The Pagoda is really a blessing for the city; as the wind and water means “fortune” in Chinese or Fengshui (geomancy). As the masterpiece of the glazed Pagoda, its magnificent construction with superb and exquisite unparalleled workmanship brings it the title of “NO.1 Pagoda under Heaven”. Through nearly one thousand years, this Pagoda has been famous not only for its architectural style, but also for its history.
In the Pagoda are enshrined and also actively worshiped the Amita-Buddha, who is the messenger of the
Western Paradise. Also enshrined is a white Jade Buddha, which witnesses the friendship between the Buddhism of China and the country of
Burma. It is also the place where the imperial examinations were held during the Song Dynasty. In the Minguo period (1911-1949), the general Feng Yuxiang established the
School to develop Buddhism in central
China. Moreover, this park is also a natural elegant beauty filled with trees and flowers. As the main exhibit site for the chrysanthemum exhibition, the
Park is special for its potted chrysanthemums, which are famous for their delicate design. Sitting in the south of the national key relics---the Ancient City Wall of Kaifeng, the
Park is listed among the 100 famous gardens in
No. 210 North Wall Street,