Aiding the protection and restoration project of the Tea Keo Temple, the historic site of Angkor in Cambodia, the restoration project of historical and cultural relics in Khwarizm Prefecture of Uzbekistan, and the restoration project of the nine-story temple complex in Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal… In recent years, the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage Vice President Xu Yan and his team participated in a series of cultural relics protection cooperation projects between my country and countries along the “Belt and Road”, witnessing the hardships and positive impact of the Chinese cultural relics protection team.
Amir Tula Madrasah, Uzbekistan before restoration. Photo courtesy of China Cultural Heritage Research Institute
After restoration of the Amir Tula Institute in Uzbekistan. Photo courtesy of China Cultural Heritage Research Institute
Respect the characteristics of cultural relics and highlight the cultural soul
There is a proverb circulating in Central Asia: "I would give a sack of gold just to see Khiva." The ancient city of Khiva, located in Khwarizm Prefecture in southwestern Uzbekistan, was once an important town along the Silk Road , rich cultural and historical accumulation. Due to the many cultural relics and historic sites, the ancient city of Khiva is also known as the "open-air museum". In 1990, the Inner City of Khiva, Ichin Kala, was inscribed on the World Heritage List. However, due to disrepair, some buildings in the ancient city of Khiva were severely damaged.
Xu Yan told People.cn that when the Chinese cultural relics protection team repairs cultural relics overseas, they will learn from some previous experience in the restoration of cultural relics in China. Materials, religious background, etc., and communicate with local experts to find the most suitable solution. "Every cultural relic has its own characteristics, and it is impossible to have exactly the same cultural relics. Secondly, the maintenance of cultural relics is irreversible. Once damaged, it is difficult to recover. Every time we take over a project, we go overseas to repair other countries' cultural relics. World cultural heritage is respected and learned. The process of getting familiar with and completing each project is also a process of constantly enriching experience.”
Before and after the environmental improvement of the site between the Amir Tula Institute of Uzbekistan and the Hassan Murad Kushbegi Mosque. Photo courtesy of China Cultural Heritage Research Institute
Before and after the environmental renovation of the North Gate area of the ancient city of Khiva in Uzbekistan. Photo courtesy of China Cultural Heritage Research Institute
He said that China, as a country with the highest number of cultural heritages in the world, has a complete range of cultural relics. At the same time, China is a multi-ethnic country with diverse cultural relics. "The accumulation of cultural relics protection experience has provided us with the foundation and confidence to carry out cultural relics foreign aid work. The Chinese cultural relics protection team has the ability and confidence to do a good job in cultural relics foreign aid work."
Every time Xu Yan and his team work on a foreign aid project, they will train a group of local craftsmen who know how to repair local cultural relics. During the restoration process, they conducted in-depth communication with local craftsmen to discuss how to realize the true connotation of cultural relics and how to highlight the soul of culture. Through the implementation of the project, the local traditional craftsmanship has been inherited and protected, and part of the employment problem has been solved.
Benefit the local people and promote people-to-people bonds
Restoration of cultural relics is not only about restoring the cultural relics themselves. In the 26-hectare ancient city of Khiva, there are more than 300 households and more than 2,000 people. How to improve people's living conditions while restoring and protecting cultural relics is a key issue for the Chinese cultural relics restoration team.
In addition to the restoration of ancient buildings, the Chinese staff also carried out environmental improvement, designed the ground pavement of roads and squares in accordance with local traditional methods, and carried out appropriate infrastructure renovations such as cable entry and drainage pipe laying on the streets. In order to achieve the goal of both cultural relics protection and tourism development.
Xu Yan specially introduced the design and commissioning of the lighting system in the environmental improvement area of the ancient city of Khiva. "This area is very dark at night and there are few lights. After the renovation, it was lit up. We adjusted the lighting angle and brightness on site, and conducted research, which can realize the lighting of the exhibition area without affecting the lives of any residents. "
Many residents of the ancient city of Khiva have been involved in the restoration work, which has allowed them to take care of their families and improve their living conditions. With the completion of the restoration work, the original bumpy road was paved, and the children did not have to detour to go to and from school, and the debris pile became a small square for people to rest.
Children in the ancient city of Khiva in Uzbekistan dance in front of a mosque equipped with a lighting system. Photo courtesy of China Cultural Heritage Research Institute
Because of the protection of the ancient city, the Chinese Cultural Heritage Protection Team has established a very profound friendship with the Khiva government and local residents. "Everyone helps each other, respects each other, and communicates friendlyly." Xu Yan said: "We are in the ancient city, and the local people will come to borrow our noodle press machine. They will also send us the baked naan at home."
"Before, I didn't realize that history will gradually disappear, and I didn't understand the meaning of Khiva. Because of Khiva, I love my country even more. This restoration opportunity is precious, and the ancient city will return to what it should be. Khiva's History and culture will continue to nourish the young people here.” The man who said this was a young Uzbek man named Mubarak, whose hometown is Khiva. In the restoration project of the ancient city of Khiva, he served as a translator.
Another project translator, Di Anli, said, "This job is very meaningful to me. On the one hand, I have quickly improved my Chinese level, and on the other hand, I have also understood the concept of cultural relics protection in China. More importantly, The next time I bring my family or tourists to Khiva, I can proudly tell them: I participated in the restoration of this ancient city! I hope that the children in the ancient city of Khiva can go to China for a walk and have a look, and I hope Chinese children can come to the ancient city of Khiva to take a walk and have a look!"
In recent years, a series of foreign aid projects for the protection of cultural relics in my country have been carried out steadily, and have been highly appraised by the recipient countries and the international community, promoting cultural exchanges and strengthening the foundation of people's hearts.
(Editors in charge: Yan Meng, Chang Hong)
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