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Temple gets new overhaul
www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-09 14:41:33

    BEIJING, April 9, (Xinhuanet) -- With an investment of nearly 300 million yuan (US$36 million), the repair project of the Successive Emperors Temple in Beijing was completed yesterday.

    The temple will open to the public by the end of this month with the entry fee expected to be 20 yuan (US$2.4), the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Cultural Relics said.

    A global Chinese gathering to offer sacrifices to ancestors will be held on Sunday there.

    Initially constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it is China's only royal temple built through the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) that offers sacrifices to "Three Sage Kings" and "Five Virtuous Emperors" -- legendary rulers of antiquity, previous monarchs and famous ministers.

    Memorial tablets of 188 emperors in past dynasties are enshrined inside the building, designed with royal palace-style architecture.

    "In the temple's 470-year history, this repair was the biggest one ever since the 27th year of the reign of Qing Emperor Qianlong," Du Xianzhou, an 88-year-old researcher with the China Cultural Relic Research Institute, said yesterday.

    The temple's Jingde Gate, main hall, subsidiary halls, bell tower, and pavilion for sheltering stone tablets and a screen wall (facing the gate inside traditional Chinese courtyard) were repaired.

    Before the rehab work, the State-level cultural relic site was occupied by the Beijing No 159 Middle School.

    The school has been transferred.

    The temple began to be put into other uses in 1925, when memorial services to mark the death of Dr Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), leader of the 1911 Revolution that overthrew the Qing monarchy, were held there.

    Afterwards, the predecessor of the No 159 Middle School -- the Peking School for Teachers of Preschool Children -- was set up inside in 1931 by famous educator Tao Xingzhi, Xiong Xiling and Zhang Xuemen.

    "As a result, it urgently needed repair," said Lin Duo, head of Beijing's Xicheng Distric where the temple is located.

    "As a major item of Beijing's overall repair projects, the temple's repair work marks a great success in protecting the original look of Beijing as an ancient capital," Beijing Vice-Mayor Zhang Mao said yesterday.

    Of the 300 million yuan (US$36 million) investment in the temple, the major part was invested by local governments and the additional 4.2 million yuan (US$512,000) was donated by non-governmental organizations, enterprises, residents in Beijing, as well as in Hong Kong and Macao.

    Experts have sung high praises about the temple's repair work.

    "The temple after repairs accord with the original appearance of the temple in the Ming and Qing dynasties," Zheng Xiaoxie, vice-president of the National Historic Cities Preservation Expert Committee, said yesterday.

    "Chinese architecture is made of wood and cannot last as long as western architecture made of stone, and it needs continuous repairs," Zheng explained.

    He said a factory next to the temple will be moved and a traditional courtyard will be transferred there to make the environment accord with the style of the historic relic.Enditem

(China Daily)

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