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Heritage Trail project

Students strive to preserve courtyards

Global Times by Li Shuang, Monday 20 December

A discussion at the Qintangfu courtyard on Saturday.

A discussion at the Qintangfu courtyard on Saturday.

A group of Chinese and international students were taken on a tour of Beijing’s hutong and courtyard houses to learn about cultural heritage preservation over the weekend.

The event was held by Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP), a small non-profit organization, and sponsored by UNESCO. The cultural exchange program aims to raise awareness of Beijing’s cultural heritage protection among young people.

A group of Chinese and international students were taken on a tour of Beijing’s hutong and courtyard houses to learn about cultural heritage preservation over the weekend.
The event was held by Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP), a small non-profit organization, and sponsored by UNESCO. The cultural exchange program aims to raise awareness of Beijing’s cultural heritage protection among young people.

“It’s time to start the conversation on cultural heritage protection among young people, because they will have to keep up the work as the previous generation grows old,” said Zhang Pei, CHP’s Project officer.
The tour started on Saturday with a presentation on the current conditions of hutong in the city and visited two Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) courtyards in the Nanluoguxiang area. One site, Qintangfu courtyard, now functions as a hotel with 24-hour hot water, heat, air-conditioning and modern plumbing.
“We want to show our young participants that you can have a comfortable, or even luxurious lifestyle in traditional courtyards while preserving their architecture and atmosphere,” Zhang added.
On Sunday the students visited the area around the Drum and Bell towers and Beijing’s Cultural Relics Museum in Lingdang Hutong, before the tour ended with a discussion session.
“This is a great opportunity for me to learn about the city I live in,” said Jenny Miao Tang, an exchange student from Australia at Tsinghua University, “I might be a tourist, but I want to be an informed one.”
Zhang added that in her experience young people were important for heritage protection because their abilities with modern communications technology allowed them to help spread the word easily.
Throughout the weekend students exchanged their opinions and observations, foreign students also shared stories of how ancient architecture is preserved in their home countries.
“As a foreigner, I can contribute a different point of view. I would feel very sad if all the hutong are gone when I come back,” said Katharina Weber, an exchange student at Renmin University of China.

“It’s time to start the conversation on cultural heritage protection among young people, because they will have to keep up the work as the previous generation grows old,” said Zhang Pei, CHP’s Project officer.

The tour started on Saturday with a presentation on the current conditions of hutong in the city and visited two Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) courtyards in the Nanluoguxiang area. One site, Qintangfu courtyard, now functions as a hotel with 24-hour hot water, heat, air-conditioning and modern plumbing.

“We want to show our young participants that you can have a comfortable, or even luxurious lifestyle in traditional courtyards while preserving their architecture and atmosphere,” Zhang added.

On Sunday the students visited the area around the Drum and Bell towers and Beijing’s Cultural Relics Museum in Lingdang Hutong, before the tour ended with a discussion session.

“This is a great opportunity for me to learn about the city I live in,” said Jenny Miao Tang, an exchange student from Australia at Tsinghua University, “I might be a tourist, but I want to be an informed one.”

Zhang added that in her experience young people were important for heritage protection because their abilities with modern communications technology allowed them to help spread the word easily.

Throughout the weekend students exchanged their opinions and observations, foreign students also shared stories of how ancient architecture is preserved in their home countries.

“As a foreigner, I can contribute a different point of view. I would feel very sad if all the hutong are gone when I come back,” said Katharina Weber, an exchange student at Renmin University of China.

Read the original article.

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