Beijing will earmark 148 million yuan (18.9 million U.S. dollars) next year to renovate ancient buildings in scenic parks as part of its efforts to prepare for the 2008 Olympics in this Chinese capital.
The maintenance work will be carried out in 11 parks, including the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven, two UNESCO World Heritage sites, according to Liu Ying, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Administration Center of Parks.
The renovation includes repair of floor, renewal of colored drawings, and improvements on lightning strike and fire prevention facilities, Liu said.
Repair work on the Summer Palace buildings will begin next March and be completed prior to Oct. 1 next year, the beginning of annual weeklong National Day holidays for Chinese during which parks see a booming tourism across the country, according to Liu.
Beijing has more than 160 registered parks, some of them on the UNESCO Heritage list boasting well-preserved buildings dating back to hundreds to thousands of years ago. They are main attractions for tourists to Beijing.
To better serve the 2008 Olympic Games, the city has invested about 300 million yuan (38.4 million U.S. dollars) in maintenance work on its cultural heritage spots, according to the city's cultural heritage administration sources.
Maintenance work on the Great Wall, the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), and the Beijing Man Site in Zhoukoudian are underway.
Renovation work on the Buddhist Incense Tower at the Summer Palace, the Hall of Prayers for Good Harvest at the Temple of Heaven, and the Qiongdao Island in the Beihai Park, has been completed this year at a cost of 140 million yuan (17.7 million U.S. dollars).