Overview of City Wall Preservation and Restoration: Rationale and Rehabilitate Process (2008-2016)

City Wall Preservation and Restoration Rationale

Due to the complicated historic reasons and twists in socio-political contexts mentioned before, the appearances of ancient city were severely destroyed and transformed. Starting from 2008, the mountains and rivers surrounding the old city, the bounded city walls, internal historic remains, the glory of the past were once again unveiled and reconstructed. The preservation area was divided into two layers of historic street districts: Gunagfu Street District and Gulou West Street District. The centre restoration pieces included the inside of the ancient city, surroundings of the historic street districts. They were further categorised into different categories, cultural significance of various time periods, featured historic remains, and spatial depths.

The goal was to promote tourism through the merging of cultural inheritance and ecological developments, rebranding the image and operation of the city. In the name of historical and heritage preservation, these ruins were restored in the way they were built in the past.

 

Figure 1: Diagram of City Wall Overall Appearance
Figure 1: Strategic Planning–Diagram of City Wall Overall Appearance

 

Figure 2: Diagram of City Wall Historic Spatial Distribution
Figure 2: Strategic Planning–Diagram of City Wall Historic Spatial Distribution

 

City Wall Preservation Details and Restoration Process

Since 2008, the Datong City began their historic and cultural revival project, restoring the demolished city walls according to the Ming Dynasty standards. The total length of the Datong City wall was reported to have at least 7270.7 meters long, creating a rectangular city complex. The city wall was made of trinity mixture fill (三合土), with bricks covering over, marked up to 14 meters tall, with a width up to 16.6. meters wide. There were 62 blocks of Men Tower (門樓), Jiao Tower (角樓), and watchower (望樓), 4 blocks of City Gate Towers. 

After expropriating housing settlements along the east city wall and outer ring, and south city walls in April 2008, the commencement of the city wall restoration process began in May 2009. Although the step-down of Mayor Geng slowed down the restoration work since 2013, the rest of the rehabilitation work resumed shortly after 2015. After 8 years of intense rehabilitation work, the restoration works completed by November 2016. Not only the merging of the east and west walls, but also the city moats surrounding neighbourhood, pavilions, turrets, belvedere, and control stations. 

The completion of restoration work included the

  1. Eastern city wall: Weng City Wall (翁城), Yue City Wall (月城), suspended bridge, moats (including the construction of 1 Wang Tower (望樓), 1 moon tower (月樓), 1 arrow tower (箭樓), and 12 belvederes);
  2. Southern city wall: Weng City Wall, Yue City Wall, Guan City Wall (關樓), and East West Er City Wall (東西耳樓) (including 10 blocks of city tower, Wenchang Pavilion (文昌閣), arrow tower, 12 blocks of Wang Tower, 1 Jiao tower (角樓))
Figure 3: Beginning of Eastern City Wall Removal (September 2008)
Figure 3: Beginning of Eastern City Wall Removal (September 2008)

 

Figure 3: First Segment of Completed City Wall
Figure 4: First Segment of Completed City Wall (July 2009)

 

Figure 4: First Restored Wang Tower
Figure 5: First Restored Wang Tower (October 2009)

 

Figure 5: Eastern City Wall Under Construction (Weng City Wall)
Figure 6: Eastern City Wall’s Weng City Wall Under Construction (October 2009)

 

Figure 6: Most Severely Destructed Part of Southern City Wall
Figure 7: Most Severely Destructed Part of Southern City Wall (July 2010)

 

Figure 7: Brickwork on Southern City Walls
Figure 8: Brickwork on Southern City Walls (October 2010)

 

Figure 8: 1/4 Completed Moats
Figure 9: 1/4 Completed Moats (October 2010)

 

Figure 9: First Wang Tower in the Western City Wall
Figure 10: First Wang Tower in the Western City Wall (November 2012)

 

Figure 10: Postponed Progress in the Western City Wall Since the Step-down of Mayor Geng (July 2014)
Figure 11: Postponed Progress in the Western City Wall since the Step-down of Mayor Geng (July 2014)

 

Figure 11: Sped up Restoration Work in the Western City Wall after the Step-up of New Government Leaders (August 2016)
Figure 12: Sped up Restoration Work in the Western City Wall after the Step-up of New Government Leaders (August 2016)

 

Figure 12: Closing Ceremony of the Datong City Wall Restoration (November 2016)
Figure 13: Closing Ceremony of the Datong City Wall Restoration (November 2016)

 

References

  1. Wu Lian & Wang Xin (2007). Method of Protection and Renewal on Historical Street District. School of Architecture, Chang’an University.
  2. Taiyuan, Majunhua, Gaolei & Zhouxiaoli (2013). Reconstruction of the Historical Impression of Datong. Xinhuashudian.
  3. Yang Xuelan (2012). The Restoration and Utilisation of Datong City Wall, Contemporary Travel. Issue 4. https://wenku.baidu.com/view/c36ebcf20622192e453610661ed9ad51f11d541f.html?from=search

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