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Beijing 'Central Axis' in heritage site bid

2012-06-14 15:30 Beijing Review     Web Editor: Xu Rui comment

A weekend dedicated to culture has just ended in Beijing. But there's no slacking for the city's cultural heritage authority, in its campaign to get the capital central axis recognized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world cultural heritage.

Beijing's central axis runs directly through the heart of the capital. It's the longest urban central axis in the world, extending 7.8 km from the Drum and Bell Towers in the north to the Yongding Gate in the south. The axis links a string of historic sites including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen and the Imperial Ancestral Temple. The Beijing Municipal Government has been campaigning hard to get this axis recognized as a world cultural heritage site, and this month could prove crucial to their success.

Wang Yuwei, director of Beijing Administration of Cultural Heritage, said, "We have roughly finished half of the preparation since the campaign was launched last year. This month, experts will review the historic sites along the central axis. Once it passes, the application will be submitted to the UNESCO."

The Drum and Bell Towers is one of the most populated areas in Beijing. Mass relocation and restoration projects have been carried out by the local government to revive the majesty of the central axis. And it has triggered a heated public debate among the locals.

Beijing has long been renown for its ancient architectural wonders. It has six world cultural heritage sites including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. As the local authorities work hard to revive the ancient glory of Beijing, locals hope their voices can also be heard and taken into consideration.

( June 12, 2012)

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