A 500-year-old section of China’s Great Wall called “Moon Gate” in northern Shanxi province has collapsed after being hit by strong winds, officials said.
The section had been the remains of a former watchtower on the Guangwu Great Wall section built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1662). It was called the “Moon Gate” by Great Wall aficionados due to its round shape, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Officials said the section collapsed due to high winds, refuting rumours that the historic attraction broke down because local villagers had been using their bricks for construction.
A few weeks ago, concerns were raised after a 780-metre stretch of “wild,” or original, wall in Liaoning dating back to the 14th century was found to have been covered in white cement, state-run China Radio International reported.
Many people complained the restoration work was ugly and made the attraction look like a city sidewalk.
The stretch in the wall that collapsed in Shanxi was also built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and served as a key historical and cultural reference when Beijing repaired its own sections.
In 2006, the Great Wall Protection Ordinance was passed by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, to improve protection and strengthen regulation. Wu Guoqiang, secretary-general of the Great Wall Society of China said that after 10 years, however, many parts of the wall remain structurally compromised, especially in areas not visited by tourists.
A lack of detailed procedures and renovation standards were at the root of lacklustre repairs, but these criteria take time to be established, and a special foundation for Great Wall protection should be established, he said.