Fayuan Temple, located in Fayuansihou Street, Xuanwu District of Beijing, is the oldest existing temple in Beijing. Covering an area of 6,700 square meters, it was built in the 19th year (645) of the Zhenguan reign of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) by Li Shimin (Tang Emperor Taizong) to commemorate officers and soldiers dead in battles. The temple was renovated in 1955, and now it is the site of the Chinese Buddhist Academy and the exhibition center for Buddhist cultural relics.
On the left and righjt sides of the Gate of Temple stand the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower respectively. Facing north and south, it consists of four courtyards. In the first courtyard, there is Heavenly King Hall, housing the statues of the Four Heavenly Kings. In the second courtyard lies the Hall of Mahavira, housing Statues of Flower Adornment School's three saints: Vairocana Buddha, Manjusri, and Samantabhadra. The Hall of Great Compassion located in the third courtyard houses many stone sculptures.. Among these statues there stands the oldest statue in China -- Pottery Statue of Sitting Buddha of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). They are all rare cultural relics. The Sutra Hall, situated in the fourth courtyard, exhibits Buddhist scriptures, statues, and cultural relics presented by various countries. Boasting both the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, Fayuan Temple attracts a large number of Buddhist scholars as well as tourists from home and abroad.