A four-story office complex built inside of a hollowed-out section of the ancient Xi’an City Wall has drawn criticism ahead of local authorities’ attempts to secure world cultural heritage status for the structure.
The story gained some momentum online after the provincial government publicity department posted on its official website that the section would be transformed into a modern office complex including conference rooms, offices, a dining hall and even a rehearsal hall. The complex would be used by the administration of the Xi’an City Wall Scenic Area.
A city preservation expert quoted in the post said that construction work on the section had damaged the wall. City Wall administration, the ones who will be enjoying the swanky news quarters, of course insist otherwise.
The wall, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and is one of the most complete city walls to survive in China, has undergone a number renovation projects since the 1980s. Many of the 13.74-km-long wall’s breaches have since been filled in. Back in 1993, a 100-meter-long concrete wall was built to fill in a breach at Chaoyang Gate. This cavernous section is where the office complex is now located.
Duan Qingbo, a cultural heritage expert at Xi’an Northwest University, said in a Xinhua report that the office hasn’t damaged the City Wall because technically it’s not part of the City Wall. He has suggested, however, that the space inside could be put to better use, for example, for exhibitions.
[Images via NetEase]