It is currently under reconstruction and is covered in scaffolding, but nevertheless, the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi’an is worth a couple hours of your time while visiting this bustling city during your travel to China.

Located about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) southeast of the city walls and South Gate, this pagoda dates back to the 8th century. It stands out because unlike most Chinese pagodas, which are round, this one is shaped in a square, a style quite similar to pagodas found in southeast Asia. The Tang-style structure was completed in the 7th century and houses icons brought from India by a legendary Chinese monk.

Note that there are separate fees for entering the grounds AND for entering the pagoda. If you’re a borderline monkey like me and like to climb, go for it. If you are on a budget, it can be missed—the views of Xian are impressive, but they are currently marred by scaffolding and, ahem, the smog that is the bane of living in cities throughout China can be disturbing.

The grounds surrounding the pagoda, which comprise the Da Cien Temple, are well worth a stroll. The buildings are fine examples of traditional Chinese architecture and add to why I think Xi’an is one of the most “Chinese” cities in China.

The Big Goose Pagoda is also an example of how the old in China segues into the modern. A huge complex of shops and restaurants extends from the exit to the main road; some visitors found the layout and setting disturbing. I figure in a city of 8.3 million people, there’s got to be a place to eat and drink, and in China, let’s face it, that is everywhere.

Buses 609 and 610 take you there, and you can also take the Metro 2 line. A 20-yuan taxi fare from the walled city area will also quickly bring you to one of the most important cultural relics in Xi’an, and a highlight of travel to this magnificent city.

Image credits: Leon Kaye

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

Someone is always on guard

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

One of the many beautiful reliefs around the Pagoda

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

One of the ceilings within the grounds surrounding the Pagoda

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

Incredible art forms of all media are part of the visit here

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

There is always something to tease the eyes

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

Gold, gold, textures, heritage and gold

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

Blue or grey skies, Big Goose Pagoda is a pleasure to visit

Xian, China, architecture, Big Goose Pagoda, Buddhism, travel

The Big Goose Pagoda offers a respite within this city of 8.3 million people

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.