Zhangye is more known, however, for its huge reclining Buddha, showing his posture after entry into Nirvana. Built in the 11th century, the 35-meter-long statue is the largest of its kind in China. The surrounding wooden building is also one of the country’s oldest.
About an hour into the mountains is a fascinating temple complex called Mati Si. Built into the side of a cliff, the temple has a series of meditation caves connected by steep staircases cut inside the rock. I was able to walk up to the topmost balcony while Marcia chose to wait at the bottom.