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Longmen Grottoes closed due to floods

07-27-2010 13:59 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

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Torrential rain has not only caused serious disruptions to everyday life, but is also taking its toll on the historical sites and cultural relics in central China's Henan Province.

Luoyang, an ancient capital, has experienced its worst flood in five decades. And the Longmen Grottoes, most of its impressive collection of Chinese art date from 316 to 907 AD, represents the zenith of stone carving in China. The historical site now had to be closed temporarily because of the flood.

According to the Administration Committee, the Longmen Grottoes was partially opened this morning. Day time visiting hours are back to normal, but night cruises have yet to resume.

This UNESCO World Heritage site now was closed as the Yihe River is bursting through the fences.

The grottoes are one of the most famous ancient sculptural sites in China. They usually attract over 6-thousand tourists a day.

A tourist said, "I came all the way to see them, but was informed of the closing just now. What a pity. I'll come again some day."

Most of the Buddhist sculptures, which were built in caves on the mountain more than a thousand years ago, escaped the currents. Over 300 staff are working around the clock to monitor the flow. Hundreds of TV cameras are in place.

Wang Qingru, reception director of Longmen Grottoes Admin. Committee,said, "We have arranged staff specifically for information and explanations, to persuade tourists to leave."

The water is receding and the tourist destination is expected to open on Tuesday or Wednesday. Cleanup efforts are scheduled, and losses are still being assessed.

Rain-triggered floods also closed the Longmen Grottoes in 2003 and 2005.

Editor:Zhang Ning |Source: CNTV

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