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World Bank grants loans to China's Silk Road
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The World Bank has granted 38.4 million U.S. dollars in loans to help northwest China's Gansu Province achieve sustainable tourism development, according to the bank.

The money will be used to restore and conserve nine natural and cultural heritage sites along the Gansu section of the Silk Road. It includes a section of the Great Wall, ancient housing, a geological park and Mount Maiji, home to numerous grottos, temples, frescos and sculptures, according to a press release from the bank.

A portion of the money will be used for training local officials and program managers related to the site conservation.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, the Silk Road began in Xi'an, a historic city in northwest China. It passes through south and central Asia and winds its way to the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea and on to Rome -- a total length of more than 7,000 kilometers. It served as an important bridge for economic and cultural exchange between the East and the West.

Once one of the world's main commercial arteries, the Silk Road still holds an immense attraction for thousands of travelers who now chart its course in search of adventure rather than trade.

(Xinhau News Agency March 22, 2008)

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