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Cultural relics repaired after floods in Zhuozhou

Updated: Sep 8, 2023 By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang China Daily Print
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Workers dismantle scaffolding used for repairs after flood damage at Yaowangmiao Temple in Zhuozhou, Hebei province, on Monday. XIONG HUAMING/FOR CHINA DAILY

The flooding caused by torrential rains that deluged northern China in early August not only displaced more than a million people and caused huge economic losses, it also damaged important cultural relics.

No city was affected more by the flooding than Zhuozhou in Hebei province, some 70 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

Zhuozhou's history stretches back over 2,300 years, and its abundant and valuable historical and cultural heritage features ancient bridges, traditional houses and temples characterized by distinctive wooden architecture.

Many of the relics sit on higher ground and were not affected by floodwaters, but some were damaged by varying degrees, according to Hao Boyang, an official with the city's bureau of culture, radio, TV and tourism.

Some wooden structures had begun to leak from rain before the flooding, he said.

Among them were Xuegong Temple, Yaowangmiao Temple and Sanyigong Temple, as well as Qingxinggong, an ancient palace where Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperors would stay on trips away from the capital.

"Luckily, the temples were not flooded because our ancestors had built them on higher ground," Hao said.

He said the city had a team of more than 30 professionals from Beijing come to restore the roofs of the wooden structures, and that they'd nearly finished.

"Relic repair needs to be done quickly, especially for the wooden structures, otherwise we may lose them," Hao said.

A pair of stone bridges were damaged more seriously, with parts of their structures destroyed after being completely submerged by floodwaters.

The two bridges — Huliang Bridge and Yongji Bridge — are under State heritage protection.

"At present, experts are making detailed renovation plans for the two bridges, after approval by higher authorities," Hao said, adding that the ruined sections will be rebuilt with old materials in order to keep their original appearance intact.

While the cultural relics are being taken care of by experts, other aspects of the flood-hit city are gradually recovering from the disaster, with students beginning their new semester at school, companies resuming production and farmers preparing for the planting of crops.

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