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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Great Wall of China is being restored using mules and old bricks. In pics

Chinese authorities insisted on more authentic restoration using traditional methods.

it-s-viral Updated: Jun 30, 2019 12:52 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Beijing
A worker inspecting a restored part of the Great Wall.
A worker inspecting a restored part of the Great Wall. (AFP)
         

Nature, time, neglect and millions of footsteps have taken their toll on the Great Wall of China leaving much of it crumbling, but repairing it can be painstaking - and controversial - work.

After public outcry when a 700-year-old section of the monument was ‘fixed’ by covering it with cement - authorities insisted on more authentic restoration using traditional methods: so now labourers, aided by mules, use reclaimed stones and mortar.

This picture shows workers walking through a restored part of the Great Wall in Xiangshuihu.
This picture shows workers walking through a restored part of the Great Wall in Xiangshuihu. ( AFP )

“They are all the bricks that collapsed from the original wall. The bricks are used to mend these places,” said Li Jingdong, one of the workers restoring the Jiankou section.

Around him, labourers use an electric hoist to put a large stone that had fallen from the wall back in place, while mules traverse the steep mountainside bringing water and lime mortar for workers to mix and bind the stones with.

It is physically demanding work - placing one rock can take around 45 minutes and for their efforts, they are paid 150 yuan ($22) per day.

The plan to use traditional methods was implemented earlier this year in a bid to preserve the original look of China’s famous landmark, which is split into sections that altogether stretch for thousands of kilometres from China’s east coast to the edge of the Gobi desert.

A worker carrying buckets at a restored part of the Great Wall of China.
A worker carrying buckets at a restored part of the Great Wall of China. ( AFP )

Engineer Cheng Yongmao, who has led operations in Jiankou for 15 years, said the latest restoration plan is meant to make “people feel that it has not been repaired”.

Construction of the Great Wall first began in the third century BC and continued for centuries. Nearly 6,300 kilometres, including the Jiankou section, were built in the Ming Dynasty of 1368-1644.

Today it attracts around 10 million tourists per year - but the swell of visitors, combined with age and weathering, has left swathes of it in ruins.

Workers placing stones at a restored part of the Great Wall.
Workers placing stones at a restored part of the Great Wall. ( AFP )

In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometres, depending on whether missing sections are included.

A worker leading mules to the Great Wall.
A worker leading mules to the Great Wall. ( AFP )

To protect the relic, authorities in the heavily-visited Badaling section of the wall decided to cap visits to 65,000 people per day from June 1.

First Published: Jun 30, 2019 12:49 IST

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