Authorities in western China are to apply for world cultural heritage listing for a 3,000-year-old road, said a local official Tuesday.
A proposal for the application will be sent to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage on Monday jointly by 11 cities in Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces along the 270-kilometer Shudao Road, or the Road of Shu Kingdom, said Ma Hua, mayor of Guangyuan City, one of the applicant cities.
If the administration approved the proposal, it would forward the application to UNESCO, Ma said.
The road starts from the Chengdu Plain and zigzags through rugged mountains and torrential streams to the vast plain in Shaanxi.
"Climbing the Shudao Road is as difficult as reaching the heaven," wrote Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 A.D.) poet Li Bai in one of his most famous works.
In addition to being extremely precipitous, Shudao Road took in the architecture, literature and folk cultures of west China, said Zhang Xuemin, professor of China Heritage City Research Center, Tongji University.
The folk culture along the road included "face-shifting" (fast changes of masks), fire-breathing, horse-racing, and folk songs.
"The well preserved Shudao Road is one of the world's earliest and most comprehensive transport systems," Zhang said.
"The road runs through a lot of scenic areas and heritage sites, including two national nature reserves, cities with a history of thousands of years, among which is the Sanxingdui site, which helped to trace China's civilization back 5,000 years," Zhang said.
Becoming a world cultural heritage would encourage the exploration and protection of the Shudao Road, Zhang said.
It would also boost tourism, promoting the reconstruction and economic development of quake-stricken Sichuan Province, she said. Source: Xinhua News