Tourists observe the stone landscape of the underground mine area. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)
Tongren city of Southwest China's Guizhou province has started efforts to apply for world cultural heritage status for its Wanshan mercury mine site, known as China's earliest and largest mercury mine.
The industrial site has a mining history of thousands of years. There is a 970km-long underground tunnel, which is a complete record of the mining traces and mine culture, with distinctive characteristics in different periods.
The city is striving to be accepted for the site's inclusion on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites by 2025.
Wanshan is the origin and inheritance of Chinese cinnabar culture. Cinnabar has been an extremely important mineral since ancient times.
From the Qin (221-207 BC) and Han (206 BC-220 AD) dynasties, it has been used as the main ingredient in alchemy, or as pigment and medicine.
A sculpture portrays a miner working underground in the Heidongzi cave. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)
Historically, the cinnabar produced in Wanshan is famous for its large proportions, and is red and bright in color. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Guangming cinnabar was used as tribute dedicated to the emperor.
The Wanshan mercury mine site is in Tuping village, Wanshan township, Tongren city. In 2006, it was approved by the State Council as a national key cultural relic to be protected.
The site retains a large number of stone ladders, tunnels, grooves, markings, pillars, roadway and related features, which have been drilled since ancient times. It has a set of advanced and unique technologies formed in mining, mineral processing and smelting.
The Wanshan mercury mine site has unique technical representativeness since it is the most distinctive industrial heritage complex in China, with outstanding universal value. It is not only a rare natural mineral resource but also bears witness to the development of ancient mining.
The Wanshan Museum of Mercury Industry History is new, built by the local government. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)
Wanshan Yunhai fairy stone is the popular punch-in attraction next to the glass trestle. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)
A panoramic aerial photograph shows the ancient town of Zhusha, or Cinnabar. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)
A long street named "Those Days" in the old mining town has a sense of leisure and nostalgia. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)
The glass skywalk spans 1,213 meters and is one of the popular attractions in the ancient town of Cinnabar. (Photo/chinadaily.com.cn)