The Yingxian Pagoda, located in Yingxian County’s Fogong Temple, is the oldest full-wooden pagoda still standing in China and is thought to be the most time-honored of its kind in the world. The ancient building, which stands 67.31 meters tall, was constructed in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty.
The Yingxian Pagoda has been dubbed one of the world’s three most remarkable towers, alongside the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Seen from the outside, the pagoda appears to be a five-story building. However, it has nine stories (four blind stories inside the pagoda). In each story, there are two circles of wooden pillars supporting the upper level: 24 wooden pillars on the outside circle and eight wooden pillars on the inside circle.
It is a miracle that the wooden pagoda has survived this long. Chinese scientists discovered in the 1990s that the structure of the pagoda could not only withstand lightning without requiring a lightning conductor, but can also resist earthquakes.
The Dougong (a system of brackets in Chinese buildings, wooden square blocks put between the top of a column and a crossbeam) is used extensively in the construction to connect various pillars and crossbeams. The most fascinating aspect of the pagoda is that no iron nails are utilized in its construction, and all connections are made using a Chinese mortise and tenon joint system, which can withstand enormous loads and allow for certain deformation in order to reduce the impact of earthquakes. Perhaps, this is the reason why the pagoda has survived multiple earthquakes for more than a thousand years.