China to Demolish 1,300-Year-Old Temple

Making way for another UNESCO site

Adam Roy

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Chinese officials in the city of Xian are planning to demolish most of a 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple in order to boost their application for UNESCO World Heritage status for another site. While some of the older buildings in the temple complex are likely to escape the wrecking ball, two-thirds of the temple, including the dormitory and canteen, will be destroyed.

“The clearance will definitely hurt some ancient sites,” an unidentified staff member told AFP on Thursday.

In an ironic twist, the buildings are being cleared to support China’s application to have several spots along the Silk Road in Shaanxi province recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, though how the temple’s destruction would help wasn’t immediately clear. The Xingjiao Temple is famous as the home of relics of 7th-century Chinese monk Xuan Zang, who brough back Buddhist scriptures from India.


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