Luoyang city in central China’s Henan province boasts a history of over 5,000 years and served as the capital for various dynasties over a period of more than 1,500 years. But much of the history is crumbling with time. Now the authorities have initiated a renovation project to better preserve its ancient district.
Luoyang’s Old Town measures a few square miles as the main center, but it probably extends out over twenty square miles. It is the best place to find ancient architecture. The old town still carries some of the city’s original atmosphere, complete with ancient ruins and old architecture.
But not all have stood the test of time. The ancient buildings are subjected to damage from the elements as well as vandalism. Some are even occupied by local residents.
“This courtyard complex was build in the Qing Dynasty, some 200 years ago. It’s a very typical building of that period. But as you can see, the structure has been damaged and some people built extra rooms to live here. The whole complex needs a complete renovation,” said Li Aihua, Luoyang Old Town District.
And this is not a singular case. In recent decades, the preservation work of the Old Town District has not been integrated nor complete. And the situation is getting worse.
“In total, there are 172 ancient buildings scattered in the Old Town District, which have been damaged and are in bad condition. The task to renovate them is a challenging one and there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Yu Jie, Deputy director of Luoyang Cultural Relics Bureau.
Good news is the authorities have put a project into motion to better preserve its ancient district. And a multitude of experts are on site to offer their advice.
“In recent years, we have learned some tough lessons from failures in renovating cultural relics. The biggest problem is the lack of a comprehensive plan. You cannot just tear the old ones down and build some replicas instead. We must respect tradition, respect the history of the ancient city,” said Hu Shaoxue, archaeologist.
Luoyang’s importance in history means that it has a significant position in China’s cultural heritage scene. And the hope is to preserve it for many generations to come.