The Changpu River, lying to the east of Beijing's Forbidden City, has been brought back into view after being concealed underground for 40 years.
Only 510 metres long, the Changpu River and the Golden Water River by the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City were the two most important rivers in the imperial city between the 14th and early 20th century.
As the Changpu runs outside the imperial compound, it is also known as the Outer Golden Water River, which was used for water supply, sewage treatment, transportation and defence.
In the late 1960s, the river was covered by warehouses.
Over the past few years, Beijing municipal government has launched a series of measures to improve the environment, highlighted by a campaign to renew the city's river network.
A six-month project has revitalized the Changpu and returned it to its original appearance.
The buildings along the river, the traditional alleys, quadrangles and ancient trees, have also been well preserved.
Since 1998, the municipal government has invested 1 billion yuan (US$120 million) in water system projects.
"Over the next five years, the focus of heritage preservation will shift from the renovation of separate sites to the protection and promotion of the entire ancient sections and their landscapes," said Mei Ninghua, director of the Beijing Administration of Cultural Heritage.
(China Daily November 7, 2002 )