Beijing: The forgotten temple of Baitasi neighbourhood
The 6th edition of the Beijing Design Week highlighted the Baitasi neighbourhood, known for its white pagoda. A study published on the WeChat account Plan_n_Play – “Mapping places of food, beverages and leisure in Beijing old city center” (jiucheng chihe wanle ditu) reveals the former existence of a massive temple, Chaotiangong, destroyed by fire in the 16th century.
This study is based upon a toponymic research, which analyses the hutong’s names in the area, thus deducting the temple’s perimeter. On the west and east part of where the temple used to stand, two hutong have indeed kept their old names, related to ancient corridors. Moreover, some hutong in the south are named “Gongmenkou“, which means “entrance of the temple”. The study also includes a compilation of poems, chants and other popular beliefs that confirms the existence of this monument. The necessity of further archaeological research is put forward. Besides, this archaeological research could be integrated in the renovation plan of the pagoda and the Fu temple, which started recently.