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Thailand's Temple of Dawn Closed by Climate Change (PHOTOS)

By Lorraine Boissoneault
Published: September 30, 2013

Part the temple of Wat Arun is seen against the Bangkok skyline on September 25, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. Temple of Dawn stupa will be closed for three years to undergo repairs. This is slated to be the most extensive repair and renovation work on the stupa in the last 14 years. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

For hundreds of years the Temple of Dawn stupa has been a glistening tower jutting into the skyline of Bangkok, Thailand, but a combination of air pollution and extreme weather events are forcing officials to close the temple off for three years worth of renovations and repairs, the longest closure in 14 years. 

The Temple of Dawn stupa, also known as the Wat Arun, is one of Bangkok's best known landmarks. The temple has existed since the 17th century and its remarkable spires were added during the 19th century, says the Wat Arun website. Regular repairs to the temple have allowed it to remain standing for hundreds of years, but recently the maintenance cycle is getting shorter and shorter.

"The maintenance cycle is usually 25 to 30 years but it's shortening because of increased pollution and more severe changes in the weather," said Tharapong Srisuchat, a senior official at the Thailand Ministry of Culture in an interview with AFP. The maintenance will include removing mold, repairing cracks, and replacing old tiles. 

(MORE: 10 Wonders of the Ancient World)

According to the Nation, the repairs will cost around $4.2 million and will be undertaken by the Department of Fine Arts, who requested that the Tourism Authority of Thailand build a smaller replica of the 81-meter (265 feet) temple for tourists. 

For a last glimpse of the Temple of Dawn before it's surrounded by scaffolding and workers, take a look at the slideshow above. 

MORE: Strange Sacred Sites Around the World

A Thai buddhist monk talks on a radio while walking past tigers at a tiger buddhist temple in Karnchanaburi province western of Thailand on April 24, 2012. (Pornchai Kittiwongskul/AFP/Getty Images)


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