After nearly seven years of repair, the centuries-old Puguang Temple in Taiyuan city, which was the oldest temple in North China's Shanxi province, recently reopened to the public, according to local officials.
First built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), experts say Puguang Temple is a symbol of Sino-Indian cultural exchange and friendship and is an historical testimony to the integration of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in China.
The ancient temple was rebuilt several times in different dynasties with the majority of the existing structures in the temple from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, according to Ji Meijun, curator of the Taiyuan Twin Tower Museum.
It ceased being open to the public as a temple for nearly 100 years. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the temple was used as warehouse, dormitory and residential house.
Due to lack of repairs for an extended period, the buildings in the temple were seriously damaged. In 2013, Taiyuan municipal government launched a repair and rehabilitation project targeting the temple.
The re-opened temple has been expanded into a three-entry courtyard. While retaining buildings of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the restoration also added some support buildings, colored sculptures, murals and paintings to improve its layout and functions.
In recent years, Taiyuan has been protecting and repairing a large number of cultural relics and ancient buildings while advancing its urban construction.
Liang Ming, a 76-year-old photographer and member of the China Photographers Association, said that ancient structures carry extremely precious historical memories of a city.
"I'd like to use cameras to record ancient buildings like Puguang Temple in Taiyuan city …. to preserve these priceless relics," he added.
Taiyuan will develop the Puguang Temple into a museum dedicated to promoting traditional Chinese culture, as well as being a place for people to communicate on culture.
In future, a series of traditional cultural exhibitions will be held in Puguang Temple, according to Ji Meijun, curator of the Taiyuan Twin Tower Museum.
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