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Lhasa's old neighborhoods to be better protected

(People's Daily Online)

17:02, May 17, 2013

On May 4, a microblog user claimed that Lhasa was “nearly ruined”. He criticized that the old neighborhoods were over commercialized and posted a photo showing the city was undergoing a large-scale reconstruction.

Is his message true? Has Lhasa become over commercialized? Recently a reporter with People’s Daily went to the Barkhor Street in the old urban areas of Lhasa to find out the truth.

Are the old urban areas of Lhasa undergoing large-scale reconstruction?

What is going on in the old urban areas of Lhasa is a conservation project with the purpose of protecting and repairing the ancient architectures. Some new buildings will be demolished to better protect the old neighbourhood.

The conservation project began in December 2012. With an area of 1.33 square kilometers the old urban areas of Lhasa have 80,000 permanent residents. Located in the center of Lhasa’s old neighborhoods, the Barkhor Street is featured by bustling businesses, tourists and cultural sites including the Jokhang Temple.

The conservation project will benefit the cultural relics in Jokhang Temple. The relics have two natural enemies: water and fire. The wires criss-cross the temple is a great hidden danger that may cause fire. Besides, the wall paintings and foundation have been badly damaged due to the poor drainage. Thanks to the conservation project, the wires were put under the ground and the drains were cleared out. The relics are kept away from the hidden dangers of water and fire, according to Nyima Tsering, a monk at Jokhang Temple.

According to a survey about the conservation project for the old urban areas by the government of Lhasa, 96 percent of local people are in favor of the project. 91 percent stall holders understand the request to relocate their stalls.

Aimed to better protect the old urban areas of Lhasa, the conservation project consists of four sections: protection of historical and cultural relics, repair of traditional architectures, reconstruction of new buildings, energy-saving doors and windows. The design institute has made a lot of measures and invited many Tibetan architects to guide the conservation process in order to maintain the original appearance of the buildings, according to Wang Jian, chief architect of Tianjin Real Estate Appraise Survey & Design Institute.

“We will make an effort to conserve the original appearance of the old buildings in the reconstruction. Unnecessary repairs, moves, component replacements will be avoided,” said deputy chief of the construction headquarters of Lhasa’s conservation project.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:YaoChun、Liang Jun)

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