At the centre of the small town of YINGXIAN (应县, yìngxiàn), 75km south of Datong, the stately Wood Pagoda, built in 1056 in the Liao dynasty, is one of the oldest wooden buildings in China, a masterful piece of structural engineering that looks solid enough to stand here for another millennium – however, it’s not possible to ascend. During a recent renovation, a cache of treasures was found buried underneath the pagoda, including Buddhist sutras printed using woodblocks dating back to the Liao.

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