Saturday, March 21, 2009

Leaving mark on 'Great Wall' costs US$120

For about 120 dollars, visitors to China's Great Wall can now leave their mark on a fake wall built recently in the name of preventing graffiti on the genuine structure.

The management office of the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall in Beijing built the fake wall and will charge 999 yuan (124 dollars) for carvings on each brick, daily newspaper The First reported.

With 9,999 bricks available, the marble structure could help management rake in 9.9 million yuan (1.2 million dollars).

Juyongguan's management said they were hoping to satisfy visitors' desire to leave something behind -- usually their name or words of love -- while discouraging them from carving graffiti on China's best-known cultural relic.

The Great Wall, which receives four million visitors a year, has suffered greatly from graffiti.

But the project has come under some criticism with The First newspaper citing one expert as saying many schemes to "protect" the wall are actually aimed at reaping profits from the cultural treasure.

The fake wall is located near the most-visited section of the real wall in Badaling and visitors usually travel to Juyongguan on their way to Badaling.

Less than 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) remain of the original 6,300-kilometer structure first built in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).

It was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to keep out northern tribes threatening the Chinese heartland.

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