Saturday, July 04, 2009

This Pagoda Is 1,500 Years Old

In any other city, Tianning Si would undoubtedly be a top tourist destination. It is beautiful. It is a practicing Buddhist temple. And it is old....Really, really old.

Yet, here in Beijing, we were able to waltz right into the place, without paying so much as a single kuai to gain entry. In fact, our most difficult problem was finding the temple. Sure, we could see it from the distance, standing out above the crumbling hutongs in the surrounding neighborhood. But getting there was an altogether different matter. There were railroad tracks blocking the way. There were local residents who themselves gave us bad directions. Our reward when we finally arrived? Besides a few worshipers, we had Tianning Si all to ourselves.

But let's get back to the heart of the matter...This temple is 1,500 years old!

How about a little perspective here?

Tianning Si was built around 600 A.D. Now, we all know, right away, that this was more than 1,000 years before the founding of the United States. It was also before...

Charlemagne was crowned king of the Holy Roman Empire (800).

William of Normandy conquered England (1066).

Construction began on Leaning Tower of Pisa (1068).

The First Crusade was launched (1095).

Marco Polo visited China (1271).

The dawning of the Renaissance (c. 1325).

The "Black Plague" killed at least 25 million people (1347-1351).

The Incan Empire ruled over Peru (1438).

Columbus discovered the New World (1492).

da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa (c. 1503).

The defeat of the Spanish Armada by England (1588).

The Taj Mahal was completed (1643).

The signing of the Declaration of Independence (1776).


~Desi and Steve

1 Comments:

At 10:04 PM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Leave it to our favorite archaeologist to fill in the "other" side of the historical story...

"Of course, it's:

2,000 years younger then Stonehenge
2,000 years younger then Kafra's pyramid and the Great Sphinx
1,000 years younger then the Parthenon

Other than that, it's pretty impressive..."

 

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