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The Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta),is a Buddhistpagoda built in 652 AD during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories.The original construction of rammed earth with a stone exterior facadeeventually collapsed five decades later to be rebuilt by Empress Wu Zetian in 704AD who added five more stories. A massive earthquake in 1556 heavily damagedthe pagoda and reduced it by three stories, to its current height of seven stories
One of the pagoda's many functions was tohold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from Indiaby Xuanzang, a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator.Xuanzang is a prominent Buddhist figure mostly known for his seventeen yearoverland trip to India and back, which is recorded in detail in his autobiography and a biography, andwhich provided the inspiration for the epic novel “Journey to the West”.
The pagoda is built on the premises of theTemple of Great Maternal Grace (Da Ci'en), originally built in 589 AD and thenrebuilt 647 AD by the Tang Emperor Gaozong in memory of his mother EmpressWende.
Before the gates of the temple stands astatue of Xuanzang.