Crumbling Remains of an Old Frontier

Yu County, in western Hebei Province and about 4 hours from Beijing, has a high density of old temples, though many are abandoned, neglected, and quickly losing their valuable paintings and decorations to thieves/antique dealers.  During the Ming Dynasty, many towns were consolidated into garrisons, building walls and even moats, as part of the empire’s defense system, along with China’s Great Wall, against Mongol invaders. Some of the temple and shrine sites were originally built during the Qin Dynasty, over 2,000 years ago.  Many of the standing structures are around 800 years old, including much of the painting that remains on the walls of the crumbling buildings.   

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