The municipal government of Jiayuguan in northwest China's Gansu province on Friday kicked off a repair and construction project focused on the western end of China's Great Wall.
The project will involve repair work on the sections of Great Wall in the city of Jiayuguan, including the Jiayu Pass -- the starting point of a section of the Great Wall constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It also includes the construction of a world cultural heritage theme park and a heritage inspection center.
The project will have a total investment of 2.03 billion yuan (317 million U.S. dollars), mostly financed by the central government.
Built in 1372, the Jiayu Pass also served as a vital passage on the ancient Silk Road. It was listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1987.
The pass underwent large-scale repairs and maintenance in 1984.
From 1986 to 1989, the Chinese government invested an accumulated 10 million yuan in repairing the pass as well as the sections of Great Wall on both sides of the pass.
The Great Wall was first built during the reign of China's first emperor Qin Shihuang (259-210 B.C.) to keep out foreign invaders.
A national survey in 2008 showed that the exact length of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty was 8,851.8 km, stretching from the Hushan section in northeast Liaoning province to the Jiayu Pass.
The Great Wall passes through 10 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in northern China, including Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai.