Famous buildings in Asia
This is not what I'm searching for.
Written on 11-02-2011 by marijn
Over the centuries, many buildings were created which later grew to be the most famous buildings in the world. These are bridges, dams, churches, grave tombs, skyscrapers, railroad tracks and statues that are still impressive to behold even today. They represent the architecture that was used before the implementation of modern aids like computers and modern machinery. In this part we take a closer look at famous constructions in Asia.
The buildings in Asia stand out because many mythological figures and creatures were used in the decoration of these constructions, or because they are constructed on a huge scale, like the Chinese Wall, which is supposedly visible from space.
The buildings that are mentioned here are everything but ordinary: they put their stamp on the surrounding landscape or have become icons of cities or even countries. Their shapes are immediately recognizable and have left a permanent impression in everyone's memory.
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is comprised of eight hundred buildings with nine thousand chambers and forms an oasis of calmness in the heart of the crowded Chinese capital Peking (Northern China). The buildings were built using the traditional Chinese architecture in the period 1406-1421 and served as centre for government and residence for 24 emperors from the Ming- and Tj'ing-Dynasties for almost five centuries. The last emperor lived there until 1924, in 1925 the Forbidden City became a museum. The most important art treasures, antiques and paintings from Chinese history are stored here. Until 1924 no outsiders were allowed to enter the Forbidden City. Only the royal servants and concubines lived and worked within its thick red walls.
The palace was erected on the spot where the old palace of the Juan emperors had stood, which was destroyed by the first Ming emperor. During its six hundred year history, the city was damaged by fires several times, because of which many of its mostly wooden structures were destroyed and new ones had to be built.
The city covers an area roughly equivalent to a hundred soccer fields and is in essence made up of a row of buildings on squares that fall in two categories: the front palace in the south and the inner palace in the north. Especially the hues of the buildings are remarkable: the red walls, scarlet pillars and the sloping roofs which are decorated with shining yellow tiles covered in ornamental motifs. The roof tiles that are semicircular in form were placed alternately hollow side up or down on the roofs. At the ends the roofs were decorated with dragons or fish, animals that symbolized water, in the hope that these would protect the building from fires.
The temple of the Byodo-in
The temple of the Byodo-in (Kyoto, Japan) has stood for almost a thousand years (it was built in 998) among the trees at the shore of a small lake. A truly remarkable feature of this building is the fact that the wood that was used in its original construction was not affected by rot or fires during all these years. The fact that this building has withstood the test of time relatively unscathed in its original form can be called a small miracle. The originally Chinese building style was adopted by the Japanese, but they gave a striking expressive twist to it. The curved lines and the protruding roof beams are very different from the European wooden constructions. These protruding parts not only serve a decorative function, but they also shelter the building from heavy rainfall. The different parts of the roof are joined to the uprights using complicated links, allowing the building to withstand enormous tensile forces.
The temple is one of the few World Heritages that is entirely built out of wood.
The Seikan tunnel
A much more modern construction is the Seikan tunnel. This tunnel links Hunshu and Hokkaido, two of Japan's islands. In the thirties there were plans to link them by a high-speed train: the Shinkansen. This was no easy feat: the shortest distance between the two islands is 23 kilometers, but because the islands are hilly and the gradient of the tracks can't be too big the tunnel had to become twice as long. The actual length of the tunnel is 53.85 km. According to surveys, the geological conditions were far from favorable. The reports indicated that the tunnel, which had to be carved through granite, showed many cracks. The water-filled cracks had to be sealed by spraying them with a high pressure concrete mixture and the tunnel was reinforced with steel where needed. In 1972 the actual construction started and it was expected that the building of the tunnel would take seven years; this turned out to be fourteen. The flooding caused by leaking cracks that had gone unnoticed in the repairs meant that large scale pumping was necessary to keep the interior of the tunnel dry. Next to the main tunnel there are also the original test tunnel, which houses two pumping stations, and a service tunnel. This connects to several cross-connections that can be used as an escape route or as a point of entry for a rescue effort in case of a calamity. The tunnel was completed in 1985 and on March 13th, 1988, the first trains used the tunnel.