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West Lake to apply for World Heritage status

Hangzhou is to reduce the number of commercial buildings around the West Lake in a bid to have the historic scenic spot listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wang Shuifa, director of the West Lake World Heritage Application Office, revealed on December 9.

 

Located in the city of Hangzhou, the West Lake, dubbed "heaven on earth", is famous for its historical associations and natural beauty, enhanced by ornate bridges and pagodas.

The government is planning to invest 40 million yuan (US$5.83 million) in preserving the cultural heritage of the West Lake; the project will be completed by the Zhejiang Ancient Building Design Institute before the end of April next year. Chen Yi, assistant director of the institute, said the renovation aims to showcase the cultural value of the scenic spot by refurbishing buildings in harmony with their surroundings. According to Chen, the project will cause very little disruption to traffic and tourism.

 

The designers will preserve the traditional garden layout including a stele, a pavilion, a courtyard and a bungalow in the scenic spots but will reduce the number of commercial facilities, Xinhua News Agency reported on December 10.

 

There are also proposals to reduce the height of the Shangri-La Hotel, the Huabei Hotel and a TV tower situated near the bank of the West Lake. But these aspects of the project are still under discussion.

 

Wang said the scenery at the West Lake is a perfect combination of cultural and natural beauty. The renovation project will preserve its scenery and cultural heritage for future generations.

 

(China.org.cn by Wu Jin, December 11, 2008)