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Great Wall gets rated
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The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry published a revised General Plan for the Great Wall (Badaling Section)-Ming Mausoleums Scenic Area (2007-2020) on its official website yesterday in order to solicit public opinions.


The whole scenic area covers a total of 326.37 square kilometers, encompassing dozens of tourist spots. It would receive a maximum of 53,300 person-times every day, or 16 million person-times every year, according to the plan.


Also included in the general plan is a four-tier rating system for different parts of the Great Wall, designed to regulate tourist behavior and minimize damage to this renowned historic site.


In level-1 spots of the Great Wall that still maintain an original look, tourists may only view with their eyes; climbing is forbidden. There is also a cap on the daily number of tourists. For level-2 spots where the wall is under protection or under partial renovation, a limited number of tourists will be allowed to climb in some designated areas. Unprotected areas will only be opened up to scientific researchers.


Level-3 spots refer to those sections of the Great Wall that have undergone comprehensive renovations. In these areas, tourists will be allowed to climb the wall. However, the number of tourists will be limited during holiday peak periods to prevent any further damage to the wall.


For level-4 spots, there will be no limit in principle on tourist numbers.

The general plan also classified tourist spots in the Badaling-Ming Mausoleums scenic area into five different categories for the first time, in line with their functions: core scenic spots, general tourist spots, landscape cultivation and recovering areas, environment coordination areas and tourist service areas.


The core scenic spots have a total area of 178 square kilometers and are largely human landscapes, including the Badaling and Juyongguan sections of the Great Wall, Ming Mausoleums cluster, and Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest Area.


In the Ming Mausoleums cluster, the burial site of 13 out of 17 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a whole package of renovations will continue. Some non-historic sites buildings within the scenic spot will be dismantled.


As part of the general plan, traffic facilities will also be re-arranged in and around the scenic areas.


Any new construction or renovations of traffic facilities that have nothing to do with resources protection will be forbidden in the core scenic spots. Parking facilities for public vehicles will also be moved outside of these areas.


The entrance to the Great Wall scenic spot will also be moved further outside to Heilongtan, where a transport hub and several service points will be set up. External motor vehicles will be prevented from entering the scenic spot. Existing parking lots and commercial facilities will also be moved to the new entrance and their current sites will be converted into greenbelts.


Some major cross-frontier expressways will remain as they are in the scenic spot areas. But the routes for some others will have to be adjusted; new routes will be constructed on the periphery of the scenic areas. The planned mileage for cross-frontier roads within scenic spots is 98.3 kilometers.


Major lanes for tour vehicles will cover a total length of 48.6 kilometers within scenic spots, according to the plan.


(China.org.cn by Yuan Fang, November 21, 2007)

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