600-year-old religious building in central China will be raised 15
metres above ground by the year-end to prevent its inundation due
to a water project.
The palace was built in 1412 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
to commemorate Zhang Sanfeng, a Taoist and tai chi master.
Originally a complex with hundreds of palaces and rooms, only
several gates and vestiges of walls and palaces remain. A main
palace was burned to ashes in 2003 in an accidental fire. The site
was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.
Located on the edge of the Danjiangkou reservoir in the Wudang
Mountains in Hubei province, the Yuzhen Palace would be submerged
once the dam's height is increased, China Daily reported
The South-North Water Diversion Project, the world's largest such
undertaking, will bring water from the massive Yangtze river in
the south to meet demand in drought-prone cities in the north
through three water-diversion routes.
According to Dai Zhanbiao, a senior engineer of Hebei Academy of
Building Research, the project's contractor, the elevation started
Aug 1 and is expected to be completed before the year-end
"By the end of the week, a palace gate had been raised one metre,"
he said, adding that the gates of the east and west palaces that
have a combined weight of 7,000 tonnes.
The project will also raise the foundation and dismantle other
vestiges of the site at an estimated cost of 200 million yuan
(about $30 million), according to Shu Tao, director of Wudang
Administration for Cultural Heritage and Religious Affairs.
The other vestiges of the site will be demolished and rebuilt in
their original style after the site is elevated, Shu said.
"The site is as large as 56,780 square metres, so it is too
difficult and risky to elevate the whole area," Shu said.