The world is full of historic buildings, artifacts, and structures, but unfortunately some of them haven’t had a chance to stand until today. However, despite all the rubble and remains, historians, travelers and researchers are still able to piece together the stories of many of these buildings.
With a history stretching back to the dawn of time and hundreds of years of war in the past, Asia is home to many historic buildings that have reshaped the culture of many of its countries. From China to Vietnam, some of the mainland’s long-lost buildings are not completely lost.
ten National Museum of Natural History – India
Opened in 1978, New Delhi, India, was once home to the National Museum of Natural History. It was a museum that focused on local culture, regional art and the promotion of environmental education. Rich in Indian history, the museum operated under the Indian government and brought a new environmental awareness to the country.
Plans for the museum’s 2015 exhibits would include galleries on human and animal cells, conservation and ecology. However, on April 26, 2016, the museum was destroyed by fire, along with its entire collection.
9 Shuri Castle – Japan
Shuri Castle – sometimes referred to as Shurijo – in Okinawa, Japan, is a former palace operated under the Ryukyu Kingdom from 1429 to 1879. With traditional red roofs and stone walls built for protection, the palace has remained a landmark historical and cultural landmark for Okinawa in its more recent years.
The destruction of the Battle of Okinawa in 1845 during World War II left the castle almost completely destroyed. The citadel once used as a residence for royalty and protection of the city had disappeared. However, the castle has been redeveloped and although you can never visit it as a palace, today it is a university campus.
8 Wangdi Dzong – Bhutan
Wangdi Phodrang Dzong, or Wangdi Palace, is an ancient palace that was once located in Bhutan. Named after a boy who once played by the building’s river, Wangdi Palace was the city landmark that Ngawang Namgyal believed was the best place to keep invaders away from the city center.
In June 2012, however, the Wangdi Phodrang Dzong burned down. One good thing in the aftermath of this accident is that the palace was already undergoing renovations and most of its artwork and interior furnishings had already been removed from the location. More than 1,000 Japanese residents donated to help rebuild the palace, but it still has not been rebuilt today.
7 Hwangnyongsa – South Korea
In Gyeongju City, South Korea was once Hwangnyongsa, or Hwangnyong Temple. Built in the 7th century, the nine-story structure was a remarkable design for the time. At a height of about 223 feet, the temple was a symbol of Buddhism in its day.
According to legend, the nine stories in the wooden temple were representative of nine East Asian nations and how the Silla royal family had sworn to conquer each of the nations. Unfortunately, the iconic structure was destroyed in battle and no wooden architecture of the Silla people exists today.
6 Loboc Church – Philippines
Loboc Church in Bohol, Philippines, is a Roman Catholic church established by the Jesuits as early as 1602. Due to its location – almost island-centric – the church has become the center of Jesuit missions in the region. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the church was considered a large part of Filipino religious culture.
However, in October 2013, the Philippines was struck by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and Loboc Church, along with many other historic Philippine churches were destroyed and collapsed due to the natural disaster. Church reconstruction projects are currently underway.
5 National Theater – Singapore
The National Theater, formerly called “People’s Theater”, is an important landmark in Singapore. Located along River Valley Road, the theater opened in 1963 to celebrate Singapore’s autonomy and independence. The National Theater was Singapore’s first and largest theater.
Bringing a wide variety of shows to the country, the theater quickly became a center for artistic and cultural sharing. From dance to theatrical performances and musical events, the National Theater has had an influence on Singapore. In 1986, however, the theater was dismantled to make way for a construction that would facilitate transportation across the country.
4 Jaffna Library – Sri Lanka
During the Sri Lankan civil war, the burning of the Jaffna public library marked the history of the nation. When a crowd started torching the cultural monument, much of the library was lost. The blaze lasted for two days and was one of the most violent book burning acts history has ever seen to date.
Although the library building remained standing, much of Sri Lanka’s written history and culture was lost in the fire. Home to over 97,000 books and manuscripts, the library fire is considered a significant event in Sri Lankan history.
3 Temple of the White Horse (Luoyang) – China
Located in Luoyang, China, the Temple of the White Horse is an ancient Buddhist temple completed in AD 68. Although the temple may appear smaller than the majority of other Chinese temples, many people consider the White Horse Temple to be the “cradle of Chinese Buddhism” as it quickly became a place of worship for many.
With beautiful gardens and courtyards, the temple also houses a statue of a white horse in its inner courtyard. Parts of the original temple did not survive years of war and fire, but with reconstruction in recent years, a new, modern version of the temple can still be seen today.
2 Kinkaku-ji – Japan
Kinkaku-ji translates to “Temple of the Golden Pavilion” and is designated as a Special National Historic Site in Japan. The area in which the Temple of the Golden Pavilion was located was affected by numerous battles of the Onin War which lasted from 1467 to 1477 but remained standing despite the surrounding destruction.
In 1950, however, the temple was set on fire and burned down by a young novice monk. Only the frame of the temple structure remained. Rebuilt in 1955, however, the current pavilion is a popular tourist attraction. Decorated with gold furniture, this is not the original, but its representation of Japanese culture remains.
1 Imperial City, Hue – Vietnam
Surrounded and protected by an ancient citadel, the imperial city is a walled enclosure to prevent enemies from entering the park. Facing the Huong River, the citadel was then used as an imperial palace. With elaborate gardens, courtyards and pavilions, the Imperial City has become a unique cultural center and a magnificent sight to behold.
In 1947 when the Viet Minh seized the citadel, but its original structures and old buildings were lost. The destruction of the battle destroyed many structures in the city, including its palace. Today, the walls of the citadel remain, and although the Imperial City may have disappeared, visitors can walk through the gates to learn about its history.
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