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Three Pagodas of Dali

The world-renown Three Pagodas of Dali arises on Cangshan Mountain slope, overlooking Erhai Lake within Dali of Yunnan Province.

The Three Pagodas of Dali was listed as a national key cultural relics preservation site by the State Council. The tallest of the three, Qianxun Pagoda, has 16 storeys totaling 69.13 meters (230 feet) in height. It was built more than 1,000 years ago during the Zhenguan Period in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The two smaller pagodas to its west and north, each 42.19 meters (135 feet) high with ten tiers, have a luxurious appearance with their exquisite carvings. They were built in the Five Dynasties (907-960). More than 600 rare relics of the states of Nanzhao and Dali were discovered in the three pagodas during the 1978 reconstruction, making them even more famous.

There are several different sayings about the specific construction period of the three pagodas. Historical records show that they were first built in 836. When building the tallest one, the emperor of the Tang Dynasty sent two famous architects to see to its design and construction, thus introducing the architectural arts of the central plain to Yunnan Province. Therefore, no wonder that many experts and scholars think its structure is similar to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province. Besides, it is the testimony of unification among different nationalities in ancient China.

When visiting the Three Pagodas of Dali, you'll wonder at the super architectural techniques in ancient times. It is said that construction workers did not employ scaffolds but hillocks piled around the already built tiers, to construct higher parts. Upon completion of the pagodas, workers carried away these hillocks, and the pagodas finally showed up. 

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