Shops and restaurants atop the Great Wall of China are being given the shove as part of a move to restore the original appearance of the country’s best known historical site, it was reported today.
Since the 1950s, more than 30 small commercial outlets from tea houses to photo booths have accumulated along the wall’s heavily visited Badaling section, according to the official Beijing Daily.
Those outlets have created an atmosphere that is “too commercial,” the paper said, also citing problems they create with noise, sanitation, and damage to the wall.
Plans call for those to be moved to an adjacent shopping plaza by the end of the year “in order to dilute the commercial atmosphere and return the Great Wall to its original historical appearance”, the paper said.
Built during the Ming Dynasty 500 years ago, the Badaling section of the wall 50 miles north of Beijing was heavily restored in the 1950s and is visited by world leaders and hordes of tourists every year.
China in recent years has tried to rein in commercial development on and around the wall, which weaves for roughly 4,000 miles across northern China from the Bohai Gulf to the Gobi Desert.
Laws have also been passed to prevent damage to the wall, which in places has been demolished for roads and hotels and its bricks plundered by farmers for houses and fences.