Fuzhou has completed 122 gucuo conservation and upgrading projects
(By Sun Man) The preparations for the 44th World Heritage Committee are in full swing. This reporter learned yesterday that Fuzhou has plans for 91 gucuo (Fujian-style ancient houses) conservation and upgrading projects that will cover a total of 211 such buildings, in accordance with the requirements of the “six batches” initiative (announcing a batch of protected historical and cultural sites, historical buildings, and famous historical and cultural towns and villages; launching a batch of key cultural heritage protection projects; organizing a batch of theme exhibitions with meticulous efforts; completing a batch of cultural heritage protection projects; nominating a batch of world heritage application projects; honoring a batch of organizations and individuals with significant contributions). At present, 122 projects have been completed. It is expected that all projects will be basically completed by the end of May.
In order to show the city at its best, hold a successful world heritage session and invigorate the city, Fuzhou is carrying out a new round of gucuo conservation and upgrading projects, as well as a new round of urban upgrading initiatives.
Located at the northern foothills and south of the Antai River, the scholarly and antiquely charming Aofengfang historic and cultural street block retains memories of the old city. In the core districts of Minhou County, the Tanshishan historic and cultural street block reflects the traditional architectural and street block styles unique to sugarcane regions, and gives unreserved expression to China’s “xi culture” (roughly “happiness culture”).
“These two street blocks are important components of the ‘six batches’ initiative. In conjunction with Fuzhou’s characteristics, the municipality is focusing on project implementation, including ‘completing a batch’ and ‘launching a batch’,” said project officials. Prior to the Spring Festival, 15 historic and cultural street blocks have been revamped and opened to the public, including Aofengfang and Tanshishan. Works on 51 old streets and alleys, including Zhongshan Road and Mishu Alley, as well as 65 historic buildings, have been completed.
According to the “completing a batch” plan, the municipality will continue conservation and repair works on 12 key cultural monuments, including the Ancestral Hall and Museum of Lin Zexu, the Zhaozhong Ancestral Hall, and the Qigong Ancestral Hall, repair works on 35 historic buildings, the upgrading of “Three Hills and Two Pagodas” (cultural monuments in Fuzhou), Mount Gu and Kuliang. The municipality has also launched conservation and utilization projects for 11 renowned historic and cultural towns and traditional villages, including Yueque Village in Songkou Town, Yongtai County, and Dongshan Village in Yidu Town, Fuqing Municipality.
With regards to “launching a batch”, Fuzhou has made a number of “big moves” this year. The municipality is speeding up works on the “New Eight Sights” of Liangcuo Village in Cangshan District in line with its status as the “greatest of villages in Sanjiangkou”, the “doorway to the arts of Fuzhou” and the “most beautiful of urban villages”. In Liangcuo Village, one not only finds a great many gucuo clusters, but also landscapes including the well-preserved agricultural fields, ponds, and the Yanshan Hill. The surrounding hills and brooks only add to the charm of the landscapes.
In addition to Liangcuo Village, the municipality has also launched the second phase of the Chunqiu Park (“Spring and Autumn Park”) of the Yeshan Historic District (located at the core section of Pingshan Road), the first phase of the Xindian Ancient City Relics Park, the first phase of the Nangong Park Historic District (intersection of Liuyi Road and Guohuo Road) as well as conservation works on historic building clusters in Fukien Christian University.
“We are also making good progress on the remaining ‘four batches’,” said project officials. For the “announcing a batch” part, the municipality has announced the addition of 11 municipal-level cultural monuments and 51 county-level cultural monuments in late 2019.
For the “exhibiting a batch” part, Fuzhou is making preparations for the launch of a comprehensive exhibition themed upon the World Heritage session, an exhibition on distinctive visitor’s attractions for the session, exhibitions on 15 characteristic historic and cultural street blocks, and an exhibition on Fuzhou’s intangible cultural heritage.
For the “nominating a batch” part, the municipality is actively seeking the inscription of the Three Lanes and Seven Alleys, the Zhuzifang Block, the Shangxiahang Historic and Cultural District and the Yantai Hill into the cultural heritage list. Preparations are underway for similar applications for Fuzhou Maritime Silk Road heritage and the Mawei shipping heritage.
For the “honoring a batch” part, Fuzhou will commend a selected batch of outstanding designers and craftsmen (both individuals and teams) who have worked on gucuo conservation and restoration, to encourage the continuity of excellent craftsmanship and form a favorable climate for the conservation of Fujian’s gucuo.