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Dujiangyan's ancient aqueduct stands test of time
Updated: 2009-05-13 13:21

Dujiangyan is famous for its ancient irrigation system, which was built about 2,300 years ago. Sadly today, it's also known as a city badly destroyed by the May 12 earthquake, where many died.

The irrigation system is at the foot of mountains on the edge of Dujiangyan, about 50 kilometers (32 miles) from the epicenter. Fortunately despite its close proximity to the quake, the system suffered only minor damage and was not compromised.

One month after the quake, Dujiangyan resort was reopened free of charge to promote tourism, and even today, if you are a resident outside Sichuan, you only need to spend one dollar to purchase a panda card which will allow you to enter for free.

Despite the rainy weather, people are still coming, to see this beautiful landscape, its many cultural relics and historical sites.

The irrigation system consists of three sections: the Fish Mouth (Yuzui); the Feisha Dike (Feisha Yan), and the mouth of the treasure bottle or Baopingkou Aqueduct.

These three parts interact with each other perfectly to form an effective water conservancy project.

The Fish Mouth had a few cracks from the earthquake, but was not severely damaged so was fixed soon after, and is still functioning well as the key part of the irrigation system.

This bridge crossing the Minjiang River above Yuzui is called Anlan Cable Bridge. Here the construction originally commenced before the Song Dynasty, and the bridge was not affected by the earthquake, as the body of the bridge, saw the wood and bamboo replaced with steel and reinforced concrete in the 70's to ensure the security of the visitors.

Seen from afar, the bridge looks like a rainbow hanging over the river.

Apart from the irrigation system, Erwang Temple, also known as the Temple of Two Kings, is another well-known cultural heritage building in the Dujiangyan resort.

The temple was badly damaged in the quake, the bits and pieces of tablets had been cleaned-up, the gleanings from the rubble are now in professional hands, and as the reconstruction began, experts have been invited to inspect the temple and assist renovating the temple to its original look in the near future.

Built around 2,000 years ago to honor Li Bing, the then Sichuan governor, and his son, for their contribution to the construction of Dujiangyan. One hopes with further reinvestment heritage wonders like this ancient aqueduct will further stand the test of time.