One of the oldest and most famous historic sites in Guangzhou, the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees (Liurong Temple) was originally built in 537 AD to serve as a shrine for Buddhist relics from India. The temple grounds suffered from a series of fires during its first few hundred years, but most of the structures standing today date back to the eleventh century.
The temple got its current name when, in 1099, poet Su Dongpo commented on the temple’s courtyard banyan trees in a poem. While the actual banyan trees are long gone, the characters from Su Dongpo’s poem remain above the gateway to the temple.
The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees remains an active Zen Buddhist place of worship with some of the biggest and oldest Buddha statues in the province housed within the main temple hall. The temple’s 17-level flowering pagoda, where the Buddhist relics are stored, is one of the city’s most prominent and recognizable landmarks, and a visit to the top of the pagoda offers pleasant views of the surrounding temple grounds.