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New textbook to spread cultural awareness
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The Silk Road, which linked ancient China and Europe, is being featured in a new textbook in Gansu Province to improve young people's awareness of cultural heritage protection.

More than 10 experts with the educational, cultural relic protection, and tourism authorities of the northwestern province were working on the project under the guidance of the provincial textbook editing committee -- the subordinate body of the provincial educational administration.

The book was expected to be included in optional courses of local primary and middle schools in September next year, when the autumn semester started.

Once approved by the administration, students would be able to learn from the 100,000 character reading material about 11 local landscapes and cultural relics along the ancient trade route.

The 11 cultural relics, including the Maijishan Grottos, known as an ancient Oriental sculpture gallery, were among 48 tentative sites along China's section of the Silk Road selected earlier this year for joint application with five central Asian countries for world cultural heritage status.

Information about the world heritage status mechanism was also featured in the new book. It was initiated by the Gansu branch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in June.

With a history dating back more than 2,000 years, the Silk Road was a famous land trade corridor linking Asian and European countries. It served as an important conduit for economic and cultural exchange between the East and West.

Starting from the ancient city of Xi'an in northwest Shaanxi Province, it wound its way through southern and central Asian countries before ending in Europe. More than half of the 7,000-kilometer route was in China.

The Silk Road in Gansu province totaled 1,600 kilometers. The route was dotted with many famous places of historic interest, including the Labrang Lamasery and the Mogao Grottos.

(Xinhua News Agency December 26, 2007)

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