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World Heritage in China

From August 17th to 30th in 2015, our class went to China for a field trip. Among all the destinations, there are five world heritage sites: Mausoleum of the First Qin EmperorEmperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Daming Palace National Heritage Park, Little Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City of Pingyao, and the Mutianyu Great Wall. Each of them has its individual peculiarities, as well as distinct conservation status.

In Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, the large scale and fineness of the Terra cotta warriors and horses left us a great impression. In Daming Palace- the largest palace in Chinese history, its magnificence reminded us the prosperities and splendid culture of Tang Dynasty. Through the Little Wild Goose Pagoda, we were able to enjoy the gracefulness of Chinese traditional construction. The magnificence of the Mutianyu Great Wall made us recall the ancient battlefield where thousands of battles happened and millions of people died there. It was hard to imagine how ancient people moved all this bricks up to the hill to build such a giant monument, and how brilliant the technique was that even today they still stand stable here. In Ancient City of Pingyao, we enjoyed the beauty of traditional architecture and experienced traditional folk culture. These heritages all fall into different categories--tombs, palace, pagoda, military facilities and ancient town—with distinct characteristics, which broaden our horizon.

Through this trip, we were able to have a better understanding of the definition of heritage provided by UNESCO. “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. They are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”[1] For a heritage, being chosen as the World Heritage not only means it is of special cultural or physical significance, but also means this heritage doesn't just belong to one country, it belongs to all the people of the world. That is a great honor, also a huge responsibility that we have to keep them intact. 

That’s the reason why while enjoying the heritage, we paid much attention to the shortage of the heritage conservation. For example, at the Great Wall, the weak administration provided opportunities for antisocial and selfish people to steal the bricks or carved their names on it. The over-commercialized environment in Ancient City of Pingyao has arisen many criticisms from the society. In the Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, the exhibitions are relatively dullsomewhat different designs for exhibitions are needed. These situations all call for more sophisticated management and reporting systems.

Not only the support from the authorities, heritage sites also need supports from residents, scholars and students just like us. As students of cultural resource management, maybe someday, some of these heritages might be going to be on our responsibility. It’s time to make a move, at least to arouse public awareness.  (L. M.) 



[1] UNESCO World Heritage Center, http://whc.unesco.org/en/about/

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