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Wooden Pagoda

wooden-pagoda Located in Yingxian County, and about 70 kilometers south of Datong, the Wooden Pagoda is the oldest and highest wooden structure in China.

The Wooden Pagoda is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world and so is regarded as the 'First Pagoda in the World' and a gem in the architectural field. It has now also been placed under national emphases under the Cultural Relics Protection Units.

wooden-pagoda01Yingxian Wooden Pagoda-the world's oldest and tallest wooden pagoda was first built in 1056 in the Liao Dynasty (907-1125). It has become fragile after weathering climatic chages, numerous earthquakes and cannon attacks. Technicians repaired it. The elevated platform has been built for visitors to have a close look at the pagoda known as the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda is not only the tallest but also the oldest existing wooden pagoda in the world. It is one of the few surviving examples of a major Song Dynasty pagoda, rich in detail, dynamic in bracketing, and noble in proportion. The pagoda is 115 years older and 12.57 metres taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy (the Leaning Tower of Pisa stands 54.56 metres tall). A panel of experts was sent to examine the pagoda in 2000. They said the building was on the verge of being destroyed by strong winds or an earthquake. The Chinese Government is determined to save the pagoda at all costs.

In 2001, hoping to save the world's oldest and tallest wooden pagoda, the State Administration of Culture Heritage called for ideas from both domestic and overseas experts. The administration had three possible repair plans to prevent the collapse of the pagoda, but authorities seeked more suggestions or help before deciding on a plan of action. The repair plan of choice was selected in 2002 and was funded by the State Council. Earthquakes, winds, precipitation and its own 5,700-ton weight have taxed the building since its construction in 1056. Column heads and ridge beams were twisted and broken. More than 50 famous experts were invited to the site and discussed how to repair it while preserving its original appearance. The administration has invested more than 8 million yuan (US$965,000) in researching the problem.

A group of more than 40 experts on architecture and historical relics protection gathered together in early June 2002 in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province, to appraise the renovation project on the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda. The Pagoda, which was built in the 11th century, is an absolute wooden structure that does not have a single nail. As one of the oldest and largest wooden structures in the world, the 97-metre high wooden pagoda is a wonder in architecture history. These experts, seven of whom are academicians at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, have come up with a scheme of renovation based on four plans after the three-day workshop.