Xi’an – Big Goose Pagoda
Xi’an (or Chang’an, as it was known then: the latter means long peace, the
former means western peace) was capital of the empire at the time when
Buddhism made its way into China, along the Silk Road (of which Chang’an was the eastern terminus for its earliest history). This pagoda was originally built in 652 to house the first Buddhist scriptures brought from India to China. These were brought by the monk Xuan Zang, whom you see in the (contemporary, of course, since one doubts it would have survived the cultural revolution had it existed then) statue. He was the first monk to leave China seeking India to bring back the great words and works of Buddhism, and it’s his journey that inspired the Journey to the West.