The Guanghua Temple in Beijing is pretty small and not featured in many guide books, so you’ll avoid the crowds of tourists, yet in my opinion it’s one of the more beautiful small city temples I’ve visited in China. It is a renowned Buddhist temple founded in the Yuan dynasty, over 700 years ago, and while over the years there has been extensions, modifications and restoration work the architecture still retains that ancient Chinese style.

As with most Chinese temples, bright red flags, lanterns and banners are everywhere, adding vibrant colour to this ancient building. In addition, ancient trees and plants dotted around the complex bring in a very relaxed atmosphere where you can feel calm and close to the natural world.

I loved spending a quiet half hour or so wandering around the courtyards of this lovely temple and admiring the effort put into every little detail of the buildings. There are gorgeous carvings, paintings and lanterns everywhere, as well as the usual religious items and paraphernalia. Those wishing to pray or pay their respects can purchase incense at the entrance for very affordable prices, and entrance is free to all visitors.

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