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August 18, 2009

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Ancient wall in modern hotel seen as a solution

PART of an ancient city wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) will be kept in the lobby of a hotel under construction in downtown Huangpu District as a balance between modernization and preservation, city officials said yesterday in response to residents' complaints.

Residents had appealed to the government to protect the wall near the intersection of Renmin Road and Luxiangyuan Road, after it was partly demolished to build the hotel and several other residential buildings since June.

"We thought the developer tried to protect the wall in construction when layers of steel plates were erected around it in June," said a resident surnamed Pan.

"Only when steel plates were removed last month did we find out a 70-plus-meter section of the nearly 100-meter wall was pulled down."

The historic wall was discovered between a hospital and residential buildings in 2002 in demolition work.

It is part of the city wall Shanghai built for the first time in 1553 to defend against pirates.

The newly found part, about 20 meters long, remains housed in a temporary shelter.

It will be kept in the hotel's lobby.

This is the best way to protect it because there is no legal grounds to save it since it has not been listed as a culture relic nor a historical protected building, said Tan Yufeng, an official with the Shanghai Cultural Relics Management Commission.

Residents opposed to the plan seek a public hearing before a final decision.

"I've seen high-rise buildings crop up like weeds in downtown Shanghai in the past few years," said a resident surnamed Tang who has been living in the area for 25 years.

"But this section of the city wall is one of the last remnants of the old city and should be preserved as it is," Tang said.


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