The Provincial Museum, housed in a former Temple of Confucius in the Old Town, contains 2300 old stelae, and is known locally as the “Forest of Stelae” (Beilin).
These stone tablets, which were first collected and brought together in the one place in 1090, are now distributed over six rooms, six corridors and a pavilion. The oldest date from the Han period (206 b.c. to a.d. 220). Particularly well-known is the “Nestorian Stela”, dating from 781, the inscription on which calls to mind the introduction of the doctrine of Nestorianism into China in the Tang period (618-907).
The town walls were built between 1368 and 1398 on the foundations of the old Tang (618-907) defensive walls. After extensive restorations they have now been incorporated into a “round park”, 14km/9 miles in circumference, which encircles the inner town. Averaging 12m/40ft in height and 18m/60ft wide at the base, the wall is furnished with four gates and a large number of watch-towers and bastions.
The Pagoda of the Small Wild Goose, in the south of the city near the local CITS travel bureau, is square in plan, stands 43m/140ft high and was built in 684 in honour of the Tang Emperor Gaozong. Two of the fifteen original storeys have collapsed as a result of frequent earthquakes.
The Temple of Daxingshan Si, to the south of the Pagoda of the Small Wild Goose, dates backto the 3rd c., but the present buildings are from the Ming and Qing period (1368-1911) and were restored in 1956. It was once an important Buddhist centre, and Indians also lived here.
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