Concrete structure repairs have been carried out on a section of the Great Wall of China in a bid to help protect the 630-year-old part of the structure.
However, according to Huanqiu and the Daily Mail, the decision has prompted outrage on social media sites in China after images surfaced of more than five miles of the wall that had been completely covered in cement.
The section in question is located in Suizhong County and was famous for being particularly wild and beautiful, with many of the stones carved with orchid and plum blossom patterns. Now, however, the concrete that has been added to the top of the wall actually hides the original tiles and bricks.
People took to Chinese social media site Weibo to voice their concerns, with one writing: “It survived the cultural revolution yet it could not survive the ignorance.” And another said: “Monuments get weathered after a thousand years but it was ruined by mindless people in just one night.”
Reports are incoming that say the State Administration of Cultural Heritage approved the restoration plans, although the Department of Culture has since come out and said it will further investigate the circumstances leading up to the project and see if there are any issues that need to be examined in greater detail.
Deputy director of Liaoning Provincial Department of Culture Ding Hui told newspapers and reporters that while the purpose of the repairs that have been carried out was to protect the wall, he did admit that it doesn’t look good.
Naturally, as structures of cultural and historical significance age over the years, they will start to show signs of wear and tear – and will inevitably require a bit of maintenance work from time to time. As such, it’s absolutely essential that those in charge of the repairs know exactly what they’re doing so they can be as sensitive as possible and only make decisions that will strengthen the structure in question while preserving its original state as far as is possible.
Good maintenance and repair of older structures is absolutely fundamental to their preservation, with repairs usually carried out to maintain the significance of a place or building. Unfortunately, misguided work can be destructive so if you do find you have a site of historical importance that needs to be repaired or worked on in some way, make sure you know you’ve hired the right team to do the work.
A good example of what not to do would be the repair of Matrera castle in Cadiz in southern Spain, which was recently severely damaged by rain storms a few years ago. The restoration project saw new materials used to protect older stones and recreate the original shape and dimensions – but the end result was mocked online, with people calling it “truly lamentable”.