Ok, there was another reason that we came to Chengdu, other than the pandas!
One of the un-listed Wonders of the World (in my opinion) is the Leshan Giant Buddha, built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). It is carved out of a cliff face, stands at 71m tall and is by far the world's tallest pre-modern statue known to man.
It is said the construction of the Buddha was done by one man alone, a Monk named Haitong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels that went downstream. When funding for the project was threatened, the Monk gauged out his own eyes to show his sincerity for the construction. About 70 years later, after the Monk's death, a military Governor decide to sponsor the project and construction was completed by Haitong's disciples.
Now, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the entire area surrounding it has been turned into a beautiful, well-maintained park that is kept in good condition. I cannot even begin to describe just how magnificent this Buddha is... the photos are good, but nothing compared to the sheer size of this structure.
Oh, and did I mention stairs, stairs, stairs?! I did see one ambitious person on crutches going down and up the several hundred of them, but this journey in is definitely something for the able-bodied!
Entrance to the park:
Another interesting Chinese sign with the literal translation: