The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi’an, Shaanxi, China. When originally built in 652 AD, during the early Tang Dynasty (618-907), it had five stories. After having collapsed five decades later, it was rebuilt in 704 AD during the later Tang under the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, who added five new stories to the structure. It later had its exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In 1556, a massive earthquake heavily damaged the pagoda, reducing it by three stories to its current height of seven stories we see today.
One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the famous 17th-century Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who was also a well-known scholar, traveler, and translator. Today, the interior walls of the pagoda feature engraved statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben.
The pagoda has a related 8th-century structure known as the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, also in Xi’an, which suffered only minor damage in the 1556 earthquake, which remains unrepaired to this day.
- Visited: Feb 1996
- UNESCO: 2014