Ancient Town's Road to Recovery
   2013-11-27 21:02:13    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fu Yu

The ancient town of Tianchang in Jingxing County, north China's Hebei province is uncovering its tourism potential by renovating and repairing houses, walls and paths that could become tourist sites. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Guo Jing]

The ancient town of Tianchang in Jingxing County, north China's Hebei province is renowned for its long history and well-known for its cultural values. Tianchang has been very committed in its efforts to protect its historical treasures.

CRI's Katharine Xu has more.


 

Established more than 900 years ago, Tianchang in Jingxing County now houses more than 60 cultural relics and is home to more than 40,000 people. The county has been uncovering the town's tourism potential by renovating and repairing ancient houses, walls and paths in the area, many of which will be opened as tourist sites.

The town's residents seem to welcome and support the changes, according to Xu Lina, a local government official.

"Many residents have moved out of the ancient buildings to enable us to work on them. They are very supportive. Some of them have built new houses to live in."

Gates, houses and courtyards that were once important features in history have stood sentry in the town for hundreds of years. Many have been damaged by war and negligence. They are waiting to be restored to their former glory, a task that would have been impossible without the efforts of both the local authorities and its people.

Du Xianming is chief of the Cultural Relics Protection and Management Bureau in Jingxing County.

"Public awareness towards cultural relics has been raised considerably through our publicity efforts. We hold a 'culture day' every year and distribute brochures twice a year. We also offer monetary rewards for model 'relic guards' in this town. It's not much but it shows our encouragement. The same goes for village people who spot and report damages, there are rewards for them too."

The townspeople have a fairly good idea of what the cultural relics surrounding their home are worth and are keen to keep them in good order.

One villager in particular becomes visibly excited when speaking about the town that he has lived in for some 50 years. The villager, who wishes to remain anonymous, even offers some suggestions.

"There are many visitors to this place. They are always talking about restoring this ancient town and developing tourism. I'd say it is absolutely necessary, because it's a town with such a long history. I suggest we begin by renovating the streets and stone archways. We should also rebuild and open the town's main gate and south gate, which were bombarded during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.

Just as the villager hopes, many preparations for the recovery of the ancient town are well underway. Some have been drafted and submitted by Jingxing County and are awaiting approval from higher authorities.

For CRI, I'm Katharine Xu.

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