Wooden Pagoda near Destruction

A nine-story wooden pagoda, built 1,000 years ago in north China, is on the verge of destruction by strong winds or earthquake.

According to a latest report written by a group of experts, the structure of the pagoda is being damaged.

"To ensure the pagoda's safety is extremely hard if severe natural disasters, such as gale or earthquake, happen in the future," said Chai Zejun, a nationally renowned scholar on ancient building and architecture.

Standing 65.86 meters tall, the octagonal pagoda in Shanxi Province is not only the tallest but the oldest existing wooden pagoda in China, 115 years older and 11.36 meters taller than the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

Although weathered changes have happened to it for almost a millennium, the pagoda is now seriously deformed, mainly due to strong earthquakes and cannon attacks.

Ye Keming, an academician from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that the primary work at present is to rid the pagoda of as much unnecessary burden as possible, otherwise the state will continue to worsen.

A survey result has been worked out by the experts as reference for restoration and salvation in the future.

And the State Bureau of Cultural Relics will submit the finalized plans to the State Council for examination and approval.

(Eastday. com 10/11/2000)

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