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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > June 2017 > How Did They do That?

How Did They do That?

This unique complex is one of the most celebrated in Japan


Horyu-ji Buddhist temple in Ikaruga, Nara, houses some of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. It was commissioned by Prince Sh toku to honour his late father, the 31st emperor of Japan, and was completed in AD 607. The complex was destroyed by lighting in AD 670, but was rebuilt using much of the original materials. Thee five-storey pagoda is the jewel of the site, standing 32 metres tall with what is believed to be a fragment of one of Buddha’s bones at its base.


Despite its five storeys, it is not possible to ascend the pagoda; rather, it was built to be admired from the outside. The wood used in the central pillar of the pagoda is estimated to have been felled in AD 594, awarding it the title of oldest surviving wooden building in the world. It stands at 32 metres tall, with each storey representing one of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air and energy.

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About History Revealed

Find out how close the King of England came to conquering medieval France, as we take a look at the Hundred Years' War. Was bad weather really to blame for the English defeat? Elsewhere, uncover the shocking true story of the Nazi spies who managed to infiltrate New York, and meet the man who inspired The Mummy villain, Imhotep. Plus, don't miss out on the FREE pull-out magazine inside, which investigates the 50 greatest mysteries in history - from the Stonehenge to the Princes in the Tower.