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Historical Beijing quarter to be destroyed

One of the few remaining unspoilt quarters of traditional Beijing is set to be destroyed to make way for a new theme park.

The area around the Drum and Bell Towers has been a vibrant part of Beijing since the days of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and in recent years has reinvented itself as a faintly bohemian cultural quarter with chic boutique shops, small galleries, restaurants and courtyard hotels.

Conservationists point, with horror, to previous cultural “restoration” attempts by the Beijing government such as the Qianmen area around Tiananmen Square which is widely derided for its soulless, Disney-style rendering of Old Beijing.

The new time theme park will contain several plazas with sandglasses, sundials and other imitation old world time-telling devices according to a local newspaper, the Beijing News.

The Drum and Bell neighbourhood was listed as a Historical and Cultural Protected Area in 2002, however sources with a close knowledge of the project told The Daily Telegraph that they fully expected it to go ahead despite opposition from conservation groups and local businesses.

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4 thoughts on “Historical Beijing quarter to be destroyed

  1. Who declared the area a Historical and Cultural Protected Area and how much protection does that designation provide? Not too much, apparently. Perhaps if the UN gave the area official World Heritage Listing, the local developers might have thought twice before tearing architectural treasures and unique cityscapes down. But then, perhaps not ๐Ÿ™

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