Ming Dynasty temple intact after earthquake

2008-06-05 06:48:37 GMT       2008-06-05 14:48:37 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

BEIJING, June 5 -- There's more news on a positive note from Sichuan, where archeologists have completed a survey of the Qiqushan Temple, in Mianyang city. The city was one of the badly hit areas in the May 12 earthquake. The survey finds that the city's ancient architecture suffered little damage from the disaster.

Located in the town of Zitong in Mianyang city, Qiqushan Temple was built during the late Ming Dynasty, more than three hundred years ago.

In the just concluded survey, archeological experts report on their examination of the buildings in the sprawling Buddhist complex. The report shows little damage was detected, apart from the collapse of perimeter walls.

According to experts in ancient architecture, the buildings survived the destructive catastrophe because of their unique design. Most of the buildings' weight is borne on the strong pillars, instead of walls. As a result, even when the walls collapsed, the building held.

Shi Youkai, archeologist, said, "The temple was built with contributions from local believers. During the construction, they used a lot of irregularly-shaped stone blocks, which were cemented with mud. And the pillars helped resist the earthquake."

Grounds keepers have cleaned up the debris left by the earthquake. Most of the temple is now reopened to tourists.

(Source: CCTV.com)

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