Confucian Temple, Suzhou – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

confucian temple in suzhou

The Confucian Temple in Suzhou (苏州文庙), originally established in 1035 during the North Song dynasty, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Fan Zhongyan, a distinguished official of his time. Situated on the grounds of the former South Garden, Fan Zhongyan fused the roles of a temple and an academy, creating a unique institution. Under the leadership of Director Hu Yuan, the temple-academy swiftly gained recognition for its exceptional educational standards, setting a national example.

Over the centuries, the temple underwent several expansions, reaching its pinnacle as the second-largest Confucian temple during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Sadly, only one-sixth of its original size remains today. Nevertheless, some key architectural marvels have withstood the test of time, persevering through natural disasters and wars. The Suzhou Confucian Temple not only serves as a historical treasure trove but also as a symbol of the enduring reverence for Confucian ideals and the scholarly pursuits that have shaped Chinese culture for centuries.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 – 2 hour
Ticket PriceFree
Opening Hours9.00 – 16.00; closed on Mondays
Area1.78 hectares
Telephone Number0086-0512-65197203

Location and Transportation

The Suzhou Confucian Temple, also known as the Suzhou Wenmiao in Chinese, is located in the heart of Suzhou, a historic city in Jiangsu Province, China. Its exact address is No. 613, Renmin Road, Gusu District. To get there, you can choose the following ways:

Bus: Take bus 1, 47, 101, 308, 501, 933, 9003, or 9010, get off at Sanyuanfang Stop (三元坊站), and walk about 200 meters to the south to reach the temple.

Metro: The closest metro station to the Confucian Temple in Suzhou is Sanyuanfang (三元坊) on line 4. After getting out of the station from Exit 2, you will be standing right opposite the entrance of the temple.

Highlights of Suzhou Confucian Temple

Hall of Great Achievement (Dacheng Hall)

dacheng hall in suzhou confucian temple

The Hall of Great Achievement, at the heart of the Confucian Temple, stands as a revered testament to Confucius. This central edifice spans 600 square meters and boasts remarkable architectural splendor, featuring 50 exquisite Nanmu wood columns. Originally constructed in 1141 during the South Song dynasty and later meticulously restored during the Ming dynasty, it stands as one of Suzhou’s finest-preserved ancient structures. Serving as the temple’s focal point, it exudes a sense of profound reverence and historical significance, offering visitors a captivating glimpse into the enduring legacy of Confucianism in Suzhou’s cultural heritage.

Lingxing Gate (The Entrance)

lingxing gate in confucian temple

The Lingxing Gate, a striking architectural gem within the Confucian Temple, has a storied history dating back to its construction in 1322 during the Yuan Dynasty, with subsequent renovations in the Ming Dynasty. Standing tall at 8 meters and spanning 25 meters in width, this majestic gate is adorned with eight awe-inspiring columns intricately carved with motifs of dragons, phoenixes, clouds, and cranes. Traditionally reserved for imperial mausoleums as the “Gate of Heaven,” the presence of the Lingxing Gate at the Confucian Temple is a testament to Confucius’ revered status as a sage, offering a unique and honorable homage to his enduring wisdom and influence.

Historical Inscriptions

historical inscriptions in suzhou confucian temple

The Confucian Temple boasts a remarkable collection of historical inscriptions, comprising 148 stone tablets, each meticulously engraved with profound Confucian teachings, philosophical insights, and vivid narratives of his life. These inscriptions grace the corridor outside the Dacheng Hall, forming a captivating outdoor museum that serves as a visual and intellectual tribute to Confucius’ enduring influence. Visitors can explore these ancient stone stelae, which not only impart valuable wisdom but also provide a tangible connection to the teachings and legacy of Confucius, making it a cherished educational and cultural treasure within the temple complex.

Carvings on Stone Steles

carvings on stone steles

Within the Confucian Temple in Suzhou, a remarkable collection of stone steles graces its hallowed grounds, with four renowned masterpieces taking center stage. The “Pingjiang Carving,” originating in 1229, mesmerizes with its vivid portrayal of Suzhou’s landscapes and daily life. Meanwhile, the trio of 1190 creations unveils the ancient Chinese fascination with knowledge: the “Astronomy Carving” meticulously charts the positions of 1440 stars and 280 constellations, the “Geology Carving” showcases the Song Dynasty’s terrain, and the “Diwang Shaoyun Carving” unveils the intricate family trees of emperors. These stone steles not only showcase artistic prowess but also preserve invaluable insights into astronomy, geography, and dynastic history.

Vlog about Suzhou Confucian Temple

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Scenic Area Size and Atmosphere: The temple area is neither too large nor too small, but it is pleasantly uncrowded. The environment is especially good, and visitors can enjoy activities like feeding fish and even feeding large geese.

Weekend Antique Market: On weekends, there is a large antique market, reputedly the largest in Suzhou. The market offers a diverse array of stalls and shops selling items such as jade, porcelain, gourds, bamboo, seals, and both antique and imitation artifacts.

Suzhou Epitaph Museum within the Temple: The Suzhou Epitaph Museum is located within the temple grounds. It displays inscriptions by famous individuals from various eras and important stone tablets reflecting Suzhou’s history.

Volunteer Guided Tours: Volunteer-guided tours are available at specific times:

  • Morning: 10:00 AM
  • Afternoon: 2:00 PM
  • Additional tour on holidays at 3:00 PM.

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