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Journeys in time 2010-5-14 National Treasures (19) - A lasting endeavour

05-14-2010 17:17 BJT


In 1921, human remains dating from half a million years ago were found in a cave on the northeastern slope of Longgu Mountain in Zhoukoudian, near Beijing. Eight years later, the first complete skull of what is now known as Peking Man, was found in the cave. In 1987, the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian became China’s first world heritage site. To date, a total of 38 places in China have been included on the World Cultural Heritage List. All of them, however, face threats of one kind or another. It’s the responsibility of the country’s archaeologists to save them. 

The Wudang complex contains buildings dating from as early as the 7th century. Three of the most prominent are the Taihe Palace, Nanyan Temple and Purple Cloud Temple. A fourth is the Yuzhen Palace, believed to be where Zhang Sanfeng, founder of the Sanfeng sect of Taoism, achieved philosophical enlightenment through meditation. Unfortunately, only part of the Yuzhen Palace remains today. 

Opinions are still divided, as to the best plan for protecting the Yuzhen Palace. In a sense, this is good, as it indicates the level of seriousness with which the matter is being addressed. It’s quite a contrast with the popular attitude towards World Heritage Sites prevailing in the 1990s.

Heritage sites, whether cultural or natural, are masterpieces passed down from our forebears or by Mother Nature herself. Their preservation is a matter of protecting human civilization and the environment in which we live. It’s very encouraging to see more and more people gaining awareness of the importance of this work. As a result, it’s not only the authorities but also individuals who are working to preserve China’s World Heritage Sites.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV.CN

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