Four Gates Pagoda
Four Gates Pagoda is known to be the oldest existing one storied square stone pagoda. The pagoda has arched beautiful doors on every side. Four Gates Pagoda was founded during the Sui Dynasty in 611 AD, is 7 meters wide and 15.04 meters in height.
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The Four Gates Pagoda is a Chinese stone pagoda dating back to the Sui Dynasty and is located in the Shandong Province. The pagoda is considered to be the oldest existing pavilion type stone pagoda today in china. This beautiful monument is a major tourist attraction in the province and attracts a huge range of tourists each year.
Four Gates Pagoda is situated near the Liubu Village, at the foot of the Qinglong Mountain in the Licheng District. The pagoda is only 33 kilometers from the Jinan City. Another very popular pagoda is located close to Four Gates Pagoda and is called the Shentong Temple or the Temple of Supernatural Power. The Shentong Temple as perhaps the most important ones located in northern China when it was built. However, the old temple is in ruins now.
In the year 1972, a stone tablet was discovered in the ceiling of the pagoda. The inscription on this stone tablet said that it was built in the 7th year of Daye period in Sui Dynasty. This description actually points to the year 611 AD, when the dynasty was towards its end. During Sui Dynasty, brick and stone had been introduced as the materials to be used for construction of pagodas.
The pagoda is built from the blocks that were quarried from a local, hard rock. All the extinct older pagodas are columns that are shaped like pagodas or sculptured pagodas. The Four Gates Pagoda has a very simple design which is quite typical for a pavilion style, one storey pagoda. The construction includes a square shaped cross section which is delineated by the side plane walls.
The eaves in the Four Gates Pagoda are held up at five different levels. At the top of the pagoda, the construction includes 23 stone, contracted boards that are designed to form a pyramid. The building’s top is formed by broad leaf, crystal of mountain and plate. At the center of this building is a central, square pillar which is made with stone. There are sixteen triangular stone beams surrounding the pillar. There is a stone Buddha on each of its four sides, facing each door and in a cross-legged sitting position.
All the elements of the Four Gates Pagoda are symmetrical with the identical four sides, each one facing one of the four directions. At the center of every wall is a simple door with rounded arch on its top and straight sides. The roof of the structure is in a pyramid shape. The roof’s top includes a stone steeple. The steeple’s overall shape is similar to a box type pagoda and is carved with various Buddhist scriptures. It sits on a Sumeru pedestal and has various stone decorations that resemble banana leaves. The steeple also has a spire which is made up of five stone discs. In total, every side of the pagoda is 7.4 meters while the pagoda is 10.4 meters tall.