The Forbidden City is grand and magnificent against the morning light on December 21, 2017. [Photo by Liu Meijun/Qianlong]
Beijing’s 7.8-km-central axis not only is symbol of ancient capital, but also the longest existing of its kind in the world. Its application for World Heritage is an unprecedented, comprehensive and massive cultural relic conservation action.
The central axis’ area of application for World Heritage is 5,143.44 hectares, including 468.86 hectares of the core area and 4,674.58 hectares of construction control areas and buffers, which accounting for 60 percent of the area of old Beijing, according to data.
The central axis conservation area covers all kinds of cultural relics.
For example, magnificent palace constructions represented by those of the Palace Museum, sacrifice constructions like temples, landscape architectures like imperial gardens, city defense system represented by gates and walls, capital construction pattern of the royal palaces in front and markets at back like Di’anmen and Qianmen business areas as well as a large number of civilian residences scattered in.
All of those are important protective components of this historic cultural city of Beijing.
Now, the central axis is both for historical protection and development as Beijing authorities unveiled a general city plan from 2016 to 2035 on Sept. 29.
It contains the city's strategic positioning, spatial distribution, historical protection, overall development of urban and rural areas, and regional collaboration.
“The central axis as the planning core, is an important witness of Chinese civilization and cultural tradition,” said Lyu Zhou, director of National Heritage center, Tsinghua University who has taken part in many applications for World Heritage.
Beijing’s central axis with prominent feature of “living heritage” has great vitality and is the “living” heritage, as its value has been growing constantly during hundreds of years, according to Lyu.
“Application for World Heritage assumes enormous significance of strengthening the protection for cultural heritage and sites, and improving the protection level,” said Shu Xiaofeng, director of Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage.