Right on the Grand Canal, the Hanshan Temple has become the city's
most important landmark. The temple was first built between the
years 502-519. It was named after Han Shan, a Tang-dynasty monk who
lived there. Through the years, the temple had undergone several
rounds of destruction and restoration. The existing one is a
late-Qing architecture work.
The temple has been immortalized by the famous poem Anchorage by
the Maple Bridge written by the prominent Tang Dynasty poet,
Zhangji. Zhang's poem reads" The moon is down, the raven calls, the
cold frost fills the sky; Off near the Gusu Town( Suzhou) as
midnight passes by. The chiming of a temple bell comes to my boat
Visitors can still see the Maple Bridge and the stone inscription
of the poem. A large bell not the original one mentioned by Zhangyi
in his poem hangs in the bell tower. The original Song bell was
somewhere in Japan and this one was contributed by some Japanese.
Many Chinese tourists will like to pay a small fee to strike the
bell for this practice is believed to bring good luck.