On 21st September 1999 a massive earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Ritcher scale hit Central Taiwan killing over 2700 people and injuring over 11,000. It was the second deadliest earthquake recorded in Taiwan. This is known as the 921 Earthquake or Jiji Earthquake, Jiji being the epicentre.
About a kilometre away from Jiji train station is Wu Chang Temple, and is definitely worth visiting if you’re in the area. At first glance, Wu Chang Temple doesn’t look any different from the thousands of other temples in Taiwan, solemn, grand and bling.
However, the original temple behind it is totally different.然而，在它後面原本的武昌宮卻是完全不一樣。
When the earthquake hit, it bought down the lower level of the temple, crumbling like a pack of cards. The upper floor ended up resting on top at ground level. The quake was so powerful that it bent the internal supporting steel bars into big S shaped. The corner decorative structures fell slightly sideways but other than that, the entire upper floor remained pretty much intact.
England is not at an earthquake prone area, so I’ve never experienced an earthquake before, until last year when I came to Taiwan. One day I was sitting on the sofa at home playing on my mobile. Suddenly, I felt the tremor, and I could feel my surroundings shaking, it was an odd and slightly scarey feeling. Since then, every time I visited the temple, I’m always in awe of the power of nature and how fragile we are in comparison. There was one visit where I felt slightly different. That day, we arrived quite late just before it was starting to get dark. Looking at the temple, I suddenly had an eerie feeling, sending a shiver down my back.
The temple is now kept as a reminder of the 921 earthquake. Some of the external walls have been strengthened to support the structure, but other than that it has been left alone. You can walk around the remains and even take a peep inside from the back to get an idea of the damage caused.