Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, March 11, 2004

Beijing restores ancient city gate

Beijing started Wednesday rebuilding the Yongding Gate, a city gate built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and demolished 47 years ago.


Beijing started Wednesday rebuilding the Yongding Gate, a city gate built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and demolished 47 years ago.

The project is scheduled to be completed in October this year, according to the Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Bureau.

The original Yongding Gate consisted of a watchtower in the front, a small town, which was actually an enclosure for defense, in the middle, and a city gate tower at the back.

The restoration project will focus on rebuilding the city gate tower and its foundation, which is 31.4 meters long from east to west, 16.96 meters wide from north to south, and 7.9 meters high. The whole tower building is 25.2 meters high.

A section of ancient city wall, 15.9 meters long, 12.7 meters wide and 6.2 meters high, will also be rebuilt on both sides of the city gate tower.

Yongding Gate was one of the seven gates of the outer city of Beijing during the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. It is the southern tip of the 7.8-kilometer central axis line, along both sides of which the ancient Beijing city extended. The Drum Tower is the northern tip of the central axis line.

Nearly half of the facilities such as gymnasiums serving the 2008 Olympic Games will be located along the central axis line. The planned Olympic Park will be located at the northern tip of the extended section of the central axis line.

Yongding Gate was demolished in 1957 due to claims that it obstructed transportation and was a dangerous building.

However, archaeologists and experts of cultural heritage protection have long appealed for restoration of the ancient city gate.

The Beijing city government gave the green light to the restoration project in May of 2001.

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