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Thursday, January 13, 2000, updated at 20:40(GMT+8)
Culture China Moves Grotto In Whole

Cultural relics departments in central China's Henan Province have moved a grotto in whole to a spot 500 meters away to help protect it.

The Xiaonanhai Grotto, located on the southern side of the Guigai Mountain in north Henan, absorbed frequent shocks caused by a nearby rock-blasting company which used explosives in its operation.

With no security fence around it, the grotto also runs the risk of being damaged by vandals.

The grotto has a number of exquisite and lifelike Buddha figures and Buddhist scriptures carved on the walls inside, which are valuable for studying stone carvings of the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577).

The grotto was one of three grottoes made by monks in the Lingshan Temple during the Qi Dynasty.

Recently, local cultural relics departments decided to move the grotto all in one piece.

Workers used steel wires to bind the rock exterior of the grotto, which weighed 69 tons, then hoisted it with a 120-ton crane and placed it on a vehicle covered with planks.

Slowly, the grotto was transported undamaged to a place 500 meters away, to stand beside another grotto. Both grottoes are protected by a wall.

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