China and the UNESCO reached an agreement Saturday to protect the well-known Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang City, central China's Henan Province, with funds provided by Japan through the UNESCO.
Zhang Wenbin, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), and representative of the UNESCO signed the agreement at a ceremony at the relics site. The ceremony was also attended by representatives of the Japanese side.
According to official sources, the project will cost a total of US$ 1.25m.
Longmen is one of the three largest Buddhist grottoes in China and was added to the World Heritage list by the UNESCO on November30, 2000.
Building of the Longmen caves began around the year of 493, when the Xiaowen Emperor of North Wei Dynasty (386-534) resettled the capital to Luoyang City.
It took 400 years to construct the caves. At present, visitors can still find almost 2,300 niches, over 70 pagodas, over 2,800 inscribed stones, and 110,000 statues in the grottoes.
(People's Daily November 12,2001)