The Nioushoushan temple in Nanjing

by Sebastian Mayer

Neuland (Ausgabe II/2016)


The Nioushoushan Temple in Nanjing, China. Photo: Sebastian Mayer

One of the most extraordinary places I have ever visited was a Buddhist "VIP temple" outside Nanjing in eastern China. I was only allowed to enter it because I was taking pictures on behalf of the company that designed the lights for the temple. A driver took me and my Chinese contact to the site of the temple. "Nanjing Nioushoushan Culture Parks" was still under construction. At the top of the hill centrally located in the park, we accompanied two watchmen inside a huge dome-shaped building, in which a temple will be opened in the future.

An elevator swept us down six floors into the mountain. We walked through labyrinthine underground corridors, at the end of which a heavy steel door opened. The sight of the luxurious temple room almost took my breath away. The room was not very large, but nevertheless I suddenly felt very small. Hesitantly I noticed that this room would probably only be open to very rich people. My Chinese companion replied: "Money does not open these doors. "This place is only for the most powerful members of Chinese society." The temple was built by the Chinese government for high-ranking politicians and members of the military. After a few minutes we had to leave again. With a loud click, the steel doors closed behind us. We were led back to the elevator. Outside it was already night.

Translated by Jess Smee

similar articles

Make it yourself (Topic: Make it yourself!)

A projector made from a shoebox

by Leonie Düngefeld

What would a DIY issue look like without our editors also making something? Our trainee takes on the challenge of creating a home cinema out of simple materials.


The hunters and the hunted (Books)

What the state tells us

By Kurt-Jürgen Maaß

Robert Winder has analysed the history of soft power - and how governments can best use it.


Heroes (Topic: Heroes)

Do it like Lei!

by Falk Hartig

The much-hyped soldier Lei Feng has been dead for over fifty years but to this day, the Communist Party of China continues to tout him as a moral role model.


Iraner erzählen von Iran (Cultural spots)

The floating school in Lagos

by Iwan Baan

Learning lessons on the open seas: In the Makoko slum in the Nigerian capital Lagos around 100 children attend a floating school.


Taboo (I think that)

... we should be more critical about China's role in Africa

By Basma Abdel Aziz

On the African continent, Chinese investors are buying up infrastructure on a massive scale. A plea for more criticism.


Make it yourself (Topic: Make it yourself!)

A raft made from bamboo

by Li*

How a traditional Chinese technique of building boats has won over tourists from around the globe.