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National center will protect ancient murals

CHINA will establish a national protection center for ancient murals in June in the northwestern province of Gansu, a researcher said yesterday.

Thirty-four million yuan (US$4.9 million) will be spent on the project, based at Dunhuang Academy, an institute specializing in the protection of grottoes and the restoration of relics, said Wang Xudong, the academy's deputy chief.

Dunhuang, a boomtown on the ancient Silk Road, is home to more than 800 grottoes that are at least 1,600 years old. The Mogao Grottoes, known as the Thousand Buddha Caves, were added to the World Heritage List in 1987. Altogether, 735 caves have been found and frescos on the inside walls cover an area of 45,000 square meters.

The center will focus on developing preservation methods and training personnel.


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