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Protection for ancient Changning bridge

CHANGNING District has listed 27 new protected historic venues this year, including an ancient bridge dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

The listed venues that were uncovered during a census for historic structures in downtown Changning include the former site of the city’s earliest university, a former popular church, various garden villas and former residences of celebrities.

Xianghua, or Scented Flower, Bridge, now in Zhongshan Park, was originally built around 970 by a renowned monk named Huichan, according to the district’s cultural heritage bureau.

The stone bridge had spanned Fahua Creek for some seven centuries in front of Fahua Temple, once the most popular Buddhist temple in the city.

Along with other 16 stone and wooden bridges Xianghua Bridge was demolished in 1958 when the creek was filled to become what is now Fahuazhen Road, while the temple was converted into a toy factory.

Xianghua Bridge was dismantled and reassembled in Zhongshan Park.

“The bureau will invite experts to determine the condition of the bridge and decide how to preserve and protect the structure,” an official with the bureau said.

Many peony flower patterns are engraved on the bridge since the area was the city’s earliest place to plant peony. The name of the bridge “Scented Flower” also originated from the flower planting history, according to the bureau.

A building at the former Kwang Hua University, that was once a popular private school and was established in 1925, is among the other newly listed historic sites. Other newly listed historic sites include Huaiben Hall, once the biggest church in Changning, which was built in 1935 on Fahuazhen Road.

Two dormitory houses for employees at former foreign firms built around 1920s were also listed in the batch.


 

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