The Xuankong Si ( Chinese 懸空寺 / 悬空寺 , Pinyin Xuánkōng sì - "Hanging Monastery") is a monastery built in the middle of a rock wall in the municipality of Dongfangcheng ( 東 坊 城鄉 / 东 坊 城乡 ) of the Hunyuan district in the north of the Chinese province of Shanxi .
The monastery consists of 40 tiny halls and pavilions and was built along the contours of the steep wall, using natural hollows and protrusions for support. The buildings rest on wooden beams that protrude from the rock. The buildings are connected by corridors, bridges and sidewalks. The rock serves as the back wall of the halls and has been hollowed out to accommodate statues of Buddha .
In one of the rooms the most important traditional religions of China are united ( 三 教 合一 , Sān Jiào héyī - "union of the three teachings"), in the hall there is a statue of Buddha , Confucius and Laozi .
The monastery houses 80 bronze, iron, clay and stone statues. A huge executed relief depicting the Tathagata Buddha ( 如來佛 / 如来佛 , rúlái fó - "the Tathagata coming Buddha") is carved out of the rock above the monastery.
When the proposal to build the monastery was made, hardly anyone thought it would be possible. A builder named Zhang finally agreed to do the job. First the individual parts were prefabricated at the foot of the rock, then they were transported to the summit and lowered from there. The construction workers were hanging on ropes with a loop around their waist and around their feet.
The monastery has been on the list of monuments of the People's Republic of China since 1982 .