China endeavors to keep ancient city of Pingyao alive

TAIYUAN: Fixing a leaky roof is possibly an easy job for many people, but not for 51-year-old Hao Yongming who lives in Pingyao, one of the best-preserved ancient walled cities in China and a UNESCO world heritage site.
To repair the roof leakage in his century-old houses, Hao had to complete a series of formalities. He first submitted an application to the neighborhood committee, met a team of experts from the local natural resources bureau, obtained a maintenance plan and a pass that allows building materials to enter Pingyao, and finally, he was able to hire a certified construction team for ancient architecture repair.
“The procedures are cumbersome, but they are all for preserving the original style and structure of the houses in Pingyao,” said Hao. “Our future depends on preserving history.”
The Chinese government has initiated a string of measures for the protection of Pingyao in north China’s Shanxi Province over the past decades, especially after it was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.
Thanks to the effective conservation of historic sites and intangible cultural heritage, as well as the improvement of the living environment, the walled city, with a history of over 2,800 years, is regaining its shine.
Pingyao boasts a well-preserved urban landscape from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). The ancient city, covering an area of 2.25 square km, is home to more than 300 cultural relics and nearly 4,000 traditional buildings.
For a period of time, Pingyao saw the development of tourism at a meteoric pace. –Agencies