Beijing’s Best Kept Secret

Alexa Penton
March 9, 2014

One of the greatest things about living in Beijing is having constant access to some of the world’s most impressive and historically significant cultural sites. Famous examples include the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square, but two sites often forgotten are the Lama and Confucian temples in Beijing’s Dongcheng District. The original temples date back hundreds of years and house several important religious relics. (Take a look at the Maitreya Buddha below—it was carved from a single tree!)

Here at IES, the students are enjoying the first long weekend of the semester. Many students have spent the past several days traveling to new destinations China, but I have a friend visiting from America, so I opted to stay in Beijing and take him to these incredible centers of Chinese culture and religion. They are definitely a must-see of Beijing. Included below are a few photos from our trip!


Buddhists prostrating at the Yonghegong Lama Temple.

Buddhists will often prostrate in each of the four cardinal directions.

A Buddha icon and offerings left by visitors to the Lamasery.

Tossing coins for good luck!

I donated 20元 to the Lamasery and received this cool pin!

Each visitor to the temple receives complimentary incense sticks for burning.

This building housed the incredible Maitreya Buddha statue.

One. Tree.

This Maitreya Budhha, or the Budhha of the future, stands 26m tall and was carved from a single white sandalwood tree.

Breathtaking architecture!

Spinning the bronze prayer wheel.

Entrance to the Confucian temple.

These stone steles are carved with excerpts from the Thirteen Confucian Classics.

A gorgeous stone carving of Confucius.

Beautiful arched gateway at the Confucian temple! (And me.)


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Alexa Penton

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! My name is Alexa Penton and I&#39;m an undergrad at the University of Mississippi pursuing degrees in Chinese Language and Culture and Art History. I started photography as a hobby in high school, and have since expanded my collection to 10 film cameras and one digital. Most of my photos and videos document my travels at home and abroad. I am particularly inspired by the qualities of light, memories, natural history, nontraditional developing practices, and nontraditional portraiture. I call Orlando, Florida home, but can&#39;t wait to spend a whole semester living and learning in Beijing!</span></p>

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