Fire destroys ancient Zhengding County gate

By Yang Xi
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, February 20, 2010
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Changlemen, an ancient city gate in Zhengding County, Hebei Province, ablaze on February 18, 2010. [Photo: Xinhua]

A fire broke out on February 18 in Zhengding County, Hebei Province, destroying an ancient gate, located in southern part of the county. The fire caused a loss of more than 1 million yuan ($US 146,400). There were no casualties.

The local government carried out an investigation immediately after the accident. It established that the fire was caused by fireworks or lanterns. Five officials were held responsible, three were dismissed from their duties, and two others were given official warnings.


Changlemen, an ancient city gate in Zhengding County, Hebei Province, destroyed by fire on February 18, 2010. [Photo: Xinhua]

The wooden gatehouses have been seriously damaged leaving only a brick platform. Most of the ancient gate has been burned down but the city walls were not affected.

The fire started at the top of the gatehouses at night and spread quickly because of the wood structure. It took two and half hours to put out the fire and an excavator was still clearing debris from the fire the following day.

City gates were used in Chinese city walls which were historic civic defensive systems used to protect towns and cities. Gatehouses were generally built of wood and brick and sat atop a raised, expanded section of the wall.

Zhengding County was created during the Qing Dynasty, in 1723. Changlemen was one of the four ancient gates in Zhengding County.

In 2000, the local government spent 4 million yuan (US$585,650) on repairing the ancient city gate and walls, to protect the historical relics and develop tourism.

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