89 historical sites in northern Shanxi Province were critically damaged by heavy rains. Another 750 sites suffered major damage. Some sites date back thousands of years and will require restoration work. Persistent downpours have brought five times the usual amount of rain to the normally arid area
Torrential rains that hit the northern province of Shanxi destroyed at least 19,000 buildings and seriously damaged 1763 historical sites. The rains also claimed the lives of 15 people in the region. Shanxi is famous for being one of the cradles of Chinese culture with more than 5,000 historical sites and over 30,000 ancient architectural structures, more than any other region in the country.
According to the Provincial Department of Cultural Heritage, 89 sites were heavily damaged while another 750 sites suffered major damage, such as collapsing walls, columns, or other architectural elements.
Continuous heavy rains in north China's Shanxi have damaged a wall section of the 2,700-year-old town of Pingyao, and repair work is underway pic.twitter.com/1t7idVMcnx— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) October 9, 2021
Other minor damages include water infiltration, cracks in walls, and ground instability.
In the ancient city of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 51 sections of the city wall were damaged. A 25-meter-long section collapsed during the storm.
According to local authorities, 300 houses in the heart of the old city were damaged. The historic buildings are mainly made of wood. Residents have been evacuated and the local government has begun restoration or repair work.
The bad weather that lasted four days scourged the Shanxi region, generally characterized by a rather dry climate.
Most of the damage, however, occurred in island areas or remote villages, which could not count on more careful protection.
The Zhenwu Temple, built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) in Fenxi County was particularly badly damaged. The Kuixing Pavilion, where students have been going to pray for good exam results since the 18th century, partially collapsed due to rain.