Wednesday marks the International Day for Monuments and Sites, which was launched in 1983 to highlight the importance of cultural heritage across the world. And in Beijing
, a park built on an historic site has played host to a Begonia Festival to show how history and nature can go hand in hand. Let's now see how these beautiful blossoms compliment the bricks of some very old barricades.
It's one of the biggest flower festivals in Beijing with thousands of begonia trees in full blossom.
The park was built in 1988 in order to protect the seven-hundred-year-old walls constructed during the Yuan Dynasty. But the park had few visitors as it was unattractive, so the government decided to revamp the area in 2003. It is now the biggest belt-shaped park with the largest artificial wetland in Beijing.
A visitor said, "I remember there were just some soil slopes and a stinky river. But it has been greatly changed with the reconstruction. I especially like the begonia festival here. I come to see it almost every year."
CCTV's Hu Chao said, "This begonia festival attracts nearly 150,000 visitors every year. The park office head says this park has not only effectively protected the historic site, but also served as a beautiful place for people to have fun."
A visitor said, "I think it's a good idea to build such park on historic site. It's the largest park nearby, a good place for leisure and physical exercises. I like it very much."
Building parks on historic sites has become a novel way for China to protect its relics. Park officials say this cuts costs as a relic protection offices don't need to be set up. Instead, parks have become integral parts of the urban landscape.
The old walls from the Yuan Dynasty have weathered and eroded. Now only the low slopes remain, but the park officials have been making every effort to protect them.
Liu Hui, deputy director of park engineering office, said, "In recent years, we have planted trees in a space of up to 3,000 square meters in order to conserve the soil and water. As well as this, flowers and grass have also been planted to cover the bare land on the slopes."
Despite the success here, Liu Hui points out that not all historic sites can be transformed into parks as some are too fragile. He adds that the protection of historic sites still needs more financial support.