Chinese Ancient Towns Applying for World Heritage Status

Six well preserved ancient towns with hundreds of years of history in east China's Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, are applying to the United Nations to be listed as World Heritage sites.

They are China's first ancient towns to apply for World Heritage status. The towns include Nanxun, Zhouzhuang, Tongli, Luzhi, Wuzhen and Xitang.

Yuan Yisan, director of the Research Center of China's Historic Cities, was quoted by Wednesday's China Daily as saying that preparations for application are going smoothly.

China had more than 40 well preserved ancient towns built in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties (1644-1911), but only six remain intact today, Yuan said.

"Many of them were damaged by war or changed during the modernization process," said Yuan.

The Ministry of Construction has listed the six towns as candidates on its tentative list to submit to the United Nations this year. The applications are being made with the help of experts from the United Nations, according to Yuan.

China now has 27 sites applying to be included on the World Heritage List this year. Yuan said the nation is currently seeing an "application fever" as more and more Chinese cities and local governments are applying for their historic sites and scenic spots to be added to the World Heritage List.

People's Daily Online ---