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1,146-year-old Temple Destroyed by Typhoon Saomai

A 1,146-year-old temple in east China's Fujian Province has been destroyed by typhoon Saomai, collapsing its gate house and more than 20 other buildings.

The typhoon stormed through Fuding city on Thursday after it made landfall in Cangnan County, Zhejiang Province. It blew away almost all the roof tiles of Ziguo temple, which was built in 860 during the Tang Dynasty, on the Lianfeng Mountain.
Saomai was the strongest typhoon to hit the country in half a century and has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.
Lei Chaorui, director of Fuding bureau of religious affairs, quoted monks with the temple as saying damage is estimated at more than 5 million yuan (US$625,000).
The monks were evacuated before the typhoon arrived and nobody was injured when their houses collapsed.
The temple is listed as a historical site by Fuding city.
Saomai has so far killed 134 people in China, 41 in Fuding alone. At least 163 others are missing.
An ancient castle in Fujian, dating back 370 years, was also destroyed in late July after being hit by a series of typhoons
which swept through the area over the last three months.
Nine buildings in the Caipu Castle in Yunxiao County collapsed after being soaked by floods for weeks. More than 200 square
meters of the outer wall also collapsed.
The moat has often overflowed into the castle since mid-May when typhoon Chanchu lashed southern and eastern China. It was
followed by typhoons Bilis and Kaemi which set off floods and landslides killing hundreds of people.
There are more than 200 families living in the castle which has a circumference of 500 meters.
The Caipu Castle was built in 1636 and was the only circular castle that still existed in Fujian.
It was a valuable research tool for the study of the local people's struggle against Japanese pirates during the Ming Dynasty
(1368-1644), said Tang Yuxian, curator of the county museum.
The ancient people of the Ming Dynasty in Fujian set up castles as a means to defend against Japanese pirates who haunted China's southern and eastern coast.
The Yunxiao county government has begun salvage work at the site. It is estimated to cost at least 200,000 yuan (US$25,000) to fully repair the castle.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2006)

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