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World Cultural Heritage: Historic Dengfeng Monuments at “the Center of Heaven and Earth”

10-18-2010 15:52 BJT Special Report:CNTV News |

The historic Dengfeng monuments at “The Center of Heaven and Earth” were listed in the World Heritage List in 2010 under the standards C (III) (VI) for selecting cultural heritage.

Assessment of the World Heritage Committee: The historic Dengfeng monuments at “The Center of Heaven and Earth” are concentrations of China’s ancient civilization. They have extremely high historic, artistic and scientific value, and completely deserve to be listed as a world cultural heritage.

Zhongyue Temple

On August 1, 2010, Beijing Time, the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee made a resolution to add Henan Province’s historic Dengfeng monuments at “The Center of Heaven and Earth” in the world cultural heritage list. This indicates that the 39th ancient rarity of China has entered the world heritage catalogue and is under key protection.

In China’s traditional world view, China is the country at the “Center of Heaven and Earth,” and the “Center of Heaven and Earth” is located at the Central Plains, and the core of the Central Plains is Dengfeng City in Henan Province. Therefore, Dengfeng was the capital of many early dynasties in China and also their cultural center. China’s mainstream cultural branches including Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism all established their core bases in Dengfeng to spread their theories, and Dengfeng was also the center of astronomical observation. This historical background left Dengfeng a great amount of well-preserved cultural and memorial architectures, and the essence of them is the historic Dengfeng monuments at “The Center of Heaven and Earth.”

The historic Dengfeng monuments at “The Center of Heaven and Earth” consists of 11 outstanding architectural compounds of eight types, including the Three Palaces of the Han Dynasty, the Songyue Temple Pagoda, Zhongyue Temple, Architectural Complex of the Shaolin Temple (Changzhu Temple, Chuzu Temple and the Pagoda Forest), Huishan Temple, Songyang Academy, Zhou Gong Measurement Tower and the Dengfeng Star Observation Platform. Currently, the monuments contain 367 buildings which were constructed in the Eastern Han Dynasty, Northern Wei Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Five Dynasties Period, Song Dynasty, Jin Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty, and the Republic of China period. According to building materials, the buildings can be divided into two types of the brick and stone buildings (254 buildings) and wooden-structure buildings (113 buildings). According to their functions, the buildings can be divided into four categories, ritual buildings (41 buildings), religious buildings (291 buildings), educational buildings (26 buildings) and scientific buildings (9 buildings). All of them make the 2,000-year-old architectural history of the Central Plains visual and clear.

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