Beijing, Mar 21 (PTI) A thousand-year-old pagoda in China’s central Henan province has started on its biggest renovation since 1949, local officials said today.

The nine-story octangular pagoda, in the Wuhua Temple of Yiyang County in Luoyang City, stands 37.2 meters tall and features carvings of buddhas and giants.

According to the Yiyang County annals, the pagoda was built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), but some of the construction materials date from the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Over time, the other parts of the temple complex were destroyed, leaving just the Wuhua Temple.

The pagoda has also tilted over the centuries, leading locals to jokingly call it “Luoyang’s Tower of Pisa.” “Due to the lack of repair, it was leaning, and some of the stones were missing or weathered away,” said Huo Xiaofeng, head of the cultural relics management office of Yiyang.

“The roof eaves especially were seriously damaged,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

The renovation is expected to be completed at the end of the year.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.