A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck southern Taiwan yesterday morning damaged at least 23 historical buildings in Tainan, with the bell tower next to Fengshen Temple (風神廟) and the Reception Archway (接官亭) collapsing, city government officials said.
The wooden pillar on the second floor of the Yanshui Octangle Building (鹽水八角樓) is suspected to have shifted and some bricks fell off the outer wall. Cracks were discovered at the Tainan Grand Matsu Temple (台南大天后宮), while the main gate shifted and some fragmented ceramic decorations fell off.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau said that the collapse of the Fengshen Temple bell tower and the Reception Archway is the most serious damage it has uncovered. However, the bureau added that both the bell tower and the drum tower had previously been rebuilt, as the bell tower was relocated due to road construction, and the drum tower is a complete replica of the original.
The Tainan Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration said that as the nearby drum tower was also damaged, it has decided to protect it by first stabilizing the area and erecting fences around it for the safety of passers-by.
Debris from the bell tower has been numbered, photographed and placed in front of the nearby Siluo Temple (西羅殿) for future reconstruction.
The bureau said that it has asked engineers to inspect damaged historical buildings in the city, including the Confucius Temple, which suffered minor damage.
In addition, major cultural and historical attractions, including the Chimei Museum (奇美博物館), Fort Provincia (赤崁樓, also known as Chikan Tower), Eternal Golden Castle (億載金城), Fort Zeelandia (安平古堡, also known as Anping Fort) and Anping Tree House (安平樹屋) remained intact, the bureau said.
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