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Malaysia joins city wall protection alliance

Updated: Nov 2, 2023 Print
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Ancient structures and their heritage to be preserved through cooperation, sharing

Malaysia became the latest member of the International Ancient Walls and Castles Alliance co-established by China, Italy and the United Kingdom, formally joining the group at a conference in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Wednesday.

"Ancient city walls and castles are important parts of the World Heritage system that need to be protected," Li Peifeng, deputy director of the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum in Malacca, Malaysia, said at the event.

"We are looking forward to joining hands with Xi'an to connect the ancient heritage with the heritage of today and revitalize their utilization."

As with Xi'an, Malacca is listed as a World Heritage City by UNESCO. It is also a famous maritime trade city. The museum is researching the connection between Silk Road heritage in China and the heritage of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is also promoting educational programs under the World Heritage system, according to Li.

He hoped to cooperate with Xi'an in training more heritage protection and promotion volunteers, in order to promote a better understanding of heritage among the public.

Altogether 10 administrations of ancient city walls or castles joined the alliance on Wednesday, including those from Suzhou, Jiangsu province, and Xiangyang, Hubei province. The alliance has 13 members from four countries.

"City walls and castles, as some of the greatest man-made structures, are scattered around the world. They embody a city's characteristics, contain people's memory and emotions, and inherit history and culture," said Wang Zhewen, executive deputy director of Xi'an City Wall Management Committee, at the event.

In 2020, the committee founded the non-governmental International Ancient Walls and Castles Alliance with the Ancient City Wall Alliance of the Veneto Region in Italy and York's City Wall in the UK, to enhance exchanges in protection technologies, cultural value promotion and management.

"I hope the conference can bridge ancient city walls and castles worldwide, promote their sustainable development and expand their global influence," Wang said.

The conference released a proposal to call on all members to insist on the inclusiveness and co-existence of heritage, promote exchanges and mutual learning, enhance resource sharing and support innovation.

Xi'an's city walls, with a height of 12 meters and stretching for 13.74 kilometers, are iconic architecture of the ancient city.

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