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Fengjie Vaporized for Three Gorges Project
With a roaring blast, nine tower blocks disappeared.

Fengjie, a historic town in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, came to an end after more than 2,300 years.

The usually bustling streets are blocked by hills of debris. Only the ancient city gates still stand, but their stones are numbered in preparation for relocation to a new town eight kilometers away.

It will have the same style of old Fengjie, but with more modern amenities.

Fengjie will be one of the first towns and counties to be submerged in the water storage of the Three Gorges Project, currently under construction on China's longest river, the Yangtze.

Statistics from the construction department of Fengjie County show that the old town, covering 1.4 square km, had a population of 100,000, with a higher density than Shanghai, China's most populous city.

The new town is composed of six districts, covering an area more than twice the size of the old Fengjie town.

A local driver surnamed Wei said his old home of more than ten years had a floor space of about 60 square meters, but after relocation he had a new apartment of 150 square meters.

The new town had better living conditions, with wider streets, more grass and flowers and better air, said Wei.

Fengjie has been a major pass and transport hub since ancient China. "The government will move the original form with two ancient gates and Yong'an Palace, a historical site, to the new city," said Liu Benrong, a leader of Fengjie County.

The excavated cultural relics would be exhibited in the new museum and the streets and statues in the new town would reflect the culture of the old town, said Liu.

(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2002)

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