This is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world, as well as the largest in the country, since the origins of this Japanese temple, located in the city of Nara, go back to the year 587.
Knowing the specific date of the beginning of the works is due to the fact that the Horyu-ji temple was started by order of the Emperor Yemei, who thought that by raising this sacred enclosure he would heal from his he alth problems. However, it failed to improve, although construction did not stop at the express wish of his wife Suiko andPrince Regent Shotoku, who is credited with the settlement ofBuddhism in Japan.
Horyu-ji Temple, the kondo on the left and the pagoda on the right
However, like so many other wooden buildings, devastating fires have also occurred here. Specifically in 670, the flames left everything practically burned to the ground, although as is customary in Japan, it was rebuilt following the original designs. But it is also true that it is a space that over time has been the subject of various renovations and extensions, which if they were done again would be built in the style of each moment.
But the heart of Horyu-ji temple is an older part, corresponding to the Asuka period of Japanese art.
In fact it follows the layout of the temples of that time. Some models in which the great monumental door facing south is never missing. And from there, the most common rooms in Japanese religious architecture follow one another. That is, a garan, the chuman, the kondo or gold room and the pagoda. Not forgetting the bell room or shoro, the scripture room or kyozo, and the reading room to the north.
These last rooms are much better understood, knowing that this temple was actually a seminary and monastery for the training of future monks.
But going back to the layout of the different rooms, as usual in the Asuka Period, they are distributed by placing the most important ones on the north-south axis. And in that axis, both the pagoda and the gold hall or kondo acquire a central position, while other dependencies surround them. But yes, there are no elements that unite them with each other. A characteristic that unites them with Chinese architecture, where the temples are also organized based on an axis from south to north and are configured with buildings that are architecturally independent from each other.