The two-storey pagoda structure of Jin'an Temple stands opposite Jin'an Park and adjacent China tours to the newest mall in Shanghai. Its freshly painted, maize and burnt sienna exterior belie her origins from 247 AD. As the oldest shrine in the city, the locals regard Jin'an mire highly than the tourist favorite Jade Buddha Temple. The former was the site for China's first Buddhist organization in 1912, then during the Cultural Revolution, it was converted into a plastics factory. In 1983, the building was relocated and reverted to its religious functions.
Always lively and crowded, this garishly decorated temple has the longest history of any shrine in Shanghai (about 17 centuries, though the shopping annex is considerably more recent, as Yangtze River cruises is the 63m/207-ft.-tall gold pagoda at the back, completed in 2010). The temple's chief antiquities are a Ming Dynasty copper bell (the Hongwu Bell) that weighs in at 3,175 kilograms (3.5 tons) and stone Buddhas from the Northern and Southern States period (A.D. 420-589).
Although its name means "Temple of Tranquillity," it is hardly the place for quiet meditation these days, nor was it in the past. Before 1949, this was Shanghai's richest Buddhist monastery, presided over by the Abbott of Bubbling Well Road (Nanjing Xi Lu, as it was known in colonial times because of a well that was located in front of the temple), an imposing China business tour figure who kept seven mistresses and a White Russian bodyguard. Today's Southern-style main halls all have renovations using Burmese teakwood (youmu).