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Universities join hands to study Old Summer Palace

By Wang Kaihao | | Updated: 2020-10-19 11:10
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China's first university alliance on study of Yuanmingyuan, or the Old Summer Palace, was launched in Beijing on Saturday.

Spread over 350 hectares, Yuanmingyuan in the northwest of Beijing was royal resort of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and is generally considered a peak of ancient Chinese garden. The architectural splendor was burned and looted by invading Anglo-French forces in 1860 and it gradually fell into ruins after the havoc.

Academic research on the site began in the 1980s, but relevant systematic and in-depth studies involving expertise of top-tier higher education institutions only began in the recent years.

Since 2018 until Saturday, the administration of Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park has signed agreement on academic research with six universities--Beijing Jiaotong University, Tianjin University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China Agricultural University, Central Academy of Fine Arts, and Peking University.

Over 50 research projects have been launched within the two years on various fields ranging from history, architecture, environment, to visual arts and development of cultural products.

The new alliance will further enable the universities and the administrative to have closer ties exploring artistic and historical significance of the former royal resort in a comprehensive way.

And Beijing Forestry University and Beijing Institute of Technology also signed cooperation agreement with the administration on Saturday and joined the alliance.

A symposium was held in Yuanmingyuan on Sunday to review the main achievements in studies on the ruins in recent years.

Based on the academic research, many works have been done in the park in terms of landscape reconstruction to better fit the original appearance before the havoc in 1860. Tourism services have also been improved accordingly, making the ruins a booming attraction for tourists.

In January, Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park was listed as an AAAAA-level scenic spot, the country's highest-level. In spite of the impact brought by COVID-19, statistics from the administration of Yuanmingyuan Ruins Park shows that number of visits to the park during the weeklong National Day holiday even slightly increased compared with the same duration last year.

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