'Central axis' of Beijing applies for world cultural heritage

14:01, May 20, 2011      

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Photo from China Daily

Officials from the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage revealed that the central axis of Beijing could be approved as a U.N. World Cultural Heritage site as early as 2013 if everything goes well on May 19.

Next month is the key period for application preparations because the primary plan for protecting cultural relics along the axis will be issued then.

The central axis, which runs north to south directly through the heart of the capital, extends 7.8 kilometers from what was Di'anmen to Yongdingmen. Other gates on the line include Zhengyangmen, Tian'anmen, Duanmen, Wumen, Taihemen, Qianqingmen and Shenwumen.

Often referred to as the "dragon vein," several important royal buildings were built along the axis, including the world-famous Forbidden City and Jingshan (Coal Hill) Park, an imperial garden built during the Ming dynasty.

Wang Yuwei, an official with the administration, said the preparations mainly include making protection plans for cultural relics, drafting the application documents and formulating administrative measures. Right now, opinions are being solicited from the public regarding the protection plan for cultural relics along the axis.

Wang said the draft plan is slated to be issued in June this year and will be discussed from multiple perspectives. U.N. experts will still have to comment on the final plan, and the plan will be adjusted according to those suggestions. Wang predicted the final plan will be finished within the year.

He revealed that the central axis’ application process will be put onto a national preparatory list before this September, and it could become a U.N. World Cultural Heritage as early as 2013 if everything goes well.

Projects that support the application will be officially initiated in June 11, China Cultural Heritage Day, Wang said, and the first batch of major projects includes repairs to Dagaoxuan Palace and Jingshan Guande Palace.

So far, workers have finished clearing out Dagaoxuan Palace, while Jingshan Guande Palace has still not been vacated. Both the palaces have been occupied for other uses for more than 50 years.

Wang said the two palaces will be first opened to the public once the two repairs are finished.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online

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