The Japanese city of Nara is one of the ancient capitals of the Japanese empire, and in fact was the capital for much of the 8th century (between 710 and 784), and precisely in that period the Todai-ji temple, one of the most emblematic constructions of the city, was built. Although, very little of the original work has survived to this day, since it is a type of architecture that basically uses wood.
Todai-ji Temple in Nara
The Todaiji was built out of wood between 743 and 752, and then it became a temple of the largest Buddhists of the time. Because this temple is Buddhist, since it was ordered to be built by Emperor Shomu, who promoted this religion in Japan, ordering the construction of Buddhist temples in all the provinces of his empire, and not only that, but in each house there should be an altar dedicated to Buddha.
Although the 8th century temple was destroyed in the year 1180, and it took 15 years for it to be rebuilt under the patronage of the Miramoto family, yes, in a different style from the initial one. That work lasted over time, but unfortunately in 1567 it suffered a serious fire, something common in many Japanese temples. Although it is also common for them to be completely rebuilt following the previous forms.
In this way the building has beenof other subsequent reconstructions, the last one being made globally in 1688, on the same date that the imperial deposit or Shosoin was added.
In short, the Todai-ji temple in Nara is considered to be the largest religious complex built in wood in the world, with its 56x50x50 meters. Although it is also true that the historical chronicles relate that the original building was still three times larger. Something that is surely an exaggeration, especially in terms of his height.
Today this great vertical development allows that inside there is still a bronze sculpture that reaches 15 meters.
But this is the data and the dimensions. The true value of this temple is its full integration into the environment in nature, for which wood plays an important role, as well as its organic forms. All with the aim of integrating into the natural environment, something that is scrupulously respected today. Since in a city as populous as Nara, and where the land is such a valued asset, it is very remarkable that the Todai-ji is still surrounded by a large park, where, among other fauna, deer, the sacred animal of the Buddhism.
In short, the Todai-ji temple in Nara, along with others in the city such as Horyu-ji and its great pagoda, Toshodai-ji, the traveling temple of Kofuhu-ji (it has been installed in several Japanese cities) or the ancient one of Yakushi-ji, are the great reasons why the historical heritage andNara's art form joins the list of Cultural Heritage of Humanity.