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Shenyang Imperial Palace Face-lift Planned in World Heritage Bid

Shenyang Imperial Palace, the only integrated royal architectural complex in China besides the Forbidden City in Beijing, will undergo full-scale renovations in its effort to be listed as a World Heritage Site.

Built in 1625, Shenyang Imperial Palace was the residence of Nurhachi (1559-1626) and Huangtaiji (1592-1643), the founders of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Shenyang was later used as an "accompanying capital" after the Qing Dynasty moved its capital to Beijing in 1644.

Some historic buildings in the palace have been worn down over the years due to a lack of protection, and the surrounding environment has been occupied by markets and other inappropriate buildings.

Zhi Yunting, director of the palace, said the renovation project, which will run from next month to October, will restore the original flavor of the palace by refurbishing the historic buildings and cleaning up the surrounding environment.

About 22.7 million yuan (US$2.7 million) of World Bank loans will be put into the project.

A few historic buildings, including the Phoenix Tower, the tallest building in the Palace, will be closed to the public for protection but will be reopened after renovation.

Colored paintings, glazed tiles and painted decorations on the buildings have faded over the years and will be refurbished as well.

Zhi said the Palace Museum will also improve its service to meet world standards. Multi-functional demonstration halls, electronic guides and touching screens will help tourists learn about the large number of priceless historic treasures in the palace.

In addition, about 10,000 square meters of inappropriate buildings such as markets, mansions, office buildings and fire-fighting facilities will be demolished or removed.

Shenyang has decided to get its Imperial Palace, Zhaoling Tomb (Beiling Park) and Fuling Tomb (Dongling Park) onto the World Heritage Site list kept by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Formal applications will be made to UNESCO before February.

(China Daily March 27, 2002)

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