Iron Pagoda

The Iron Pagoda (Tieta), Kaifeng's best known symbol, only looks as if it's made of iron. Standing on a hill, north of the Henan University in the northeastern part of the city, the pagoda was first built in 982 (during the Song Dynasty). It is a Buddhist pagoda where the finger bone of a dignitary is kept and has been regarded as the oldest color-glazed brick tower remaining in China today.

Iron Pagoda (Tie Ta)Iron Pagoda (Tie Ta)

The pagoda, actually made of normal bricks, was kept in Kaibao Temple when it was originally built in the Song Dynasty and was later unfortunately burned by lightning fire. Later in 1049 A.D in the Song Dynasty, the surface of the pagoda was covered with iron-colored glazed tiles and it gained the name Iron Pagoda. The temple was renamed several times in the successive periods and was finally pulled down during the Qing Dynasty. The pagoda was originally part of a sixth-century monastery complex, but the other buildings were washed away in one of the great floods of the 19th century. 

The thirteen-story pagoda rises to 54.66 meters with an entire timber frame interior and octagonal in shape. On the brick basement are exquisite carved patterns of animals, Buddhist motifs and flora. The outside of the tower was inlayed with brown brick of twenty-eight different molds, making the tower appear iron colored from a far distance; thence it's also been called Iron Tower. There are more than fifty diversified patterns and designs on the bricks, men of great strength and unicorns. Inside the tower, surrounding the central post is a circling strain with 168 levels rising up to the top. Every story possesses several big windows. In the main hall to the west of the tower, there is a bronze statue of Buddha that is 5.14 meters high and 12 tons weight, which is cherished as the valuable works of arts cast in the Song-Jin periods.

It has stood for over 900 years and remains intact. A Park has been built for the pagoda to which several halls and temples have been added. It provides a good venue for the appreciation of Chinese carvings, inscriptions and color-painted statues.

Admission Fee: CNY 20

Opening Hours: 08:10 to 17:30

Recommended Time for a Visit: Half an hour

Bus Route: 1, 20

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