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Qing Dynasty Mausoleum Repair Planned

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage will invest 18 million yuan (US2.2 million) to renovate the Eastern Qing Tombs.


The move would help better introduce the imperial graveyard to the world, experts said.


Located in Zunhua, North China's Hebei Province, the Eastern Qing Tombs are the grandest and most intact imperial graveyard known.


Covering 2,500 square kilometers, the grave group took about 150 years to construct, and was finished in 1908.


Five emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) together with 15 empresses were buried there, among whom the most well known ones are emperors Kangxi and Qianlong, who pushed the Qing Dynasty economy to its peak.


The Eastern Qing Tombs were built alongside the Changrui Mountain. Archaeologists said the group of graves include imperial tombs, palaces and gardens, combining natural beauty with human elegance.


Regarded as the reflection of Qing's history, the Eastern Qing Tombs enjoyed a fine reputation at home and abroad.


The site was listed for state-level preservation in 1961 and was listed by UNESCO as a World Culture Heritage Site in 2000, together with the Western Qing Tombs.


Located in Yixian County, 120 kilometers southwest of Beijing, the Western Qing Tombs marked the end of the Qing Dynasty and the end of feudalism, said archaeologists.


Finished in 1915, the graveyard includes the tomb of China's last emperor.


Archaeologists said that Chinese ancient architecture reached its highest splendor in the Qing Dynasty, and the wooden structure, stone and wood sculptures and the advanced drainage system of the Western Qing Tombs were good examples of the highest standards.


More than 200,000 pines and cypresses in the graveyard now make it the largest ancient pine forest in northern China.


Officials of the World Cultural Heritage Commission said both groups of graves display traditional Chinese ideas of architecture and adornment. The delicate layout of structures and their geomantic position - or position for good luck - are a reflection of the feudal views which governed China for thousands of years.


(CRI.com June 22, 2004)


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