Shanghai preserves Ming Dynasty walls

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Shanghai's cultural relics protection authority yesterday confirmed it will protect what remains of Shanghai's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) city wall and restore it to its original look despite a new residential building that has been under construction at the site.

Section of old city wall to get protection.

Section of old city wall to get protection.

A 50-meter-long section of the 458-year-old wall near Yuyuan Garden in Huangpu District has been mostly dismantled during the construction, leaving only 20 meters remaining, despite the construction firm's promise to keep it intact.

"The authority has halted the construction on the site and will try to restore the whole structure with the original bricks from the dismantled section," said Tan Yufeng, director of the Shanghai Cultural Relics Management Commission.

The section of wall was built in about three months in 1553 to protect the area from Japanese pirates, according to the city's history. It was part of the original city wall, which totaled 4.5 kilometers long and was 8 meters tall.

The city's military authority in 1912 ordered the wall's destruction because it impeded transportation and commerce, but a small section, including the part to be protected now, was left standing.

The remaining 70-meter-long wall was discovered in 2008 after surrounding old residential buildings were torn down and the residents were moved out. But part of the wall was destroyed after construction began in 2009 on a new residential building.

The ancient wall is now hidden behind scaffoldings of the new building. It is supported by iron shelves as a temporary protection measure. Some cracks appear on the wall that residents living nearby said were caused by the construction.

Local residents said the construction company promised to protect the historic wall when it began construction but it still damaged part of the structure. The construction firm, Shanghai Luxiangyuan Housing Co, declined to comment yesterday.

The Huangpu culture bureau is requiring the company to make a plan to restore the 50-meter section it damaged, an official with the bureau told local media yesterday. But a detailed protection plan has yet to be produced because the wall was included in the planned area for the new construction.

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