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City God's Temple Reopens
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A Taoist priest chants yesterday in the City God's Temple in Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden. A restoration project, begun in May last year, has returned the Taoist temple to its original Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) condition. 


One of Shanghai's most famous traditional tourist attractions, the City God's Temple (Chenghuang Miao) in Yuyuan Garden, reopened to the public yesterday after a five million yuan (US$625,000) restoration.


The restoration, begun in May last year, has returned the temple of Taoism to its original Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) appearance.


Typical of the garden architecture south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the 2,400-square-meter City God's Temple -- Chenghuang Temple in Mandarin -- has red walls, black tiles, ancient-style upturned eaves and refined carved columns and girders.


"Before the restoration, we consulted many old files about the temple in Shanghai Municipal Archives for decoration details," said Du Qingyu with the temple's administrative committee.


"The most remarkable character of the restored temple is its visual impact."


Du said the entrance fee for the temple remains five yuan.


The temple also started its Chen Liansheng Charity Foundation yesterday.


"The foundation is established to benefit mankind and do public good, carrying forward the spirit of Taoism," said Ren Farong, director of the Chinese Taoist Association.


The foundation gave two million yuan to the Shanghai Charity Foundation's Huangpu branch yesterday.


The respected 90-year-old Chen Liansheng is head of the 21 Taoists living in the temple. He has devoted himself to Taoism all his life.


Town God Qin Yubo and Huo Guang are both worshipped in the temple, built during the reign of Emperor Yongle (1403-1424). Qin was the city's magistrate at the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and Huo was a famous general during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD). The temple was closed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and reopened in 1995.


(Shanghai Daily October 26, 2006)


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