The oldest surviving wooden structure
This wooden pagoda of Fogong Temple is the oldest, tallest wooden structure in existence in the world. The pagoda was built in 1056. The pagoda is octagon in shape, 67m in height, and not a single nail was used to build this pagoda. There are around a total of 3,000 tons of wooden timber used, able to accommodate up to 1500 pax at one time. From the outset, it seems there are 5 levels, but in fact, there are hidden mezzanine floors in between, making it a total of 9 levels. A number of Liao Dynasty texts of Buddhist scriptures, hand-written and printed scrolls were found inside the pagoda.
The pagoda is located in the border area between the China Song Dynasty and the Liao state. Frequent warfare happened between the Song and Liao. It is believed the pagoda is built by a prominent family of the Liao, as a blessing for the family and also served as a military outpost near the border.
There were in records seven earthquakes between years 1056 and 1103, but the pagoda survives all these earthquakes. It is indeed a marvelous and precision workmanship, a site not to be missed when you visit Shanxi.