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Xinhua Silk Road: E. China’s ancient city Quanzhou injects new vitality into World Heritage sites, inducing more tourists

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BEIJING, Sept. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — It has been two years since “Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China” was inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List on July 25, 2021, and a series of celebration activities were held recently in Quanzhou City in east China’s Fujian Province.

Quanzhou was one of the world’s largest ports along the ancient Maritime Silk Road, particularly in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) when numerous ships came and left day and night for trade. Merchants from all over the world made statues and temples in the city to pray for flourishing business. In turn, these constructions made Quanzhou an architecturally diverse and exciting city.

The inscribed cultural property, comprising 22 sites of historic administrative buildings, religious buildings and statues such as the Luoyang Bridge and Fu Wen Temple, speaks of the contributions China made to a prosperous global maritime trade.

To celebrate the second anniversary of the addition of the cultural heritage sites to the World Cultural Heritage List, musical performances of Nanyin, a traditional musical performing art prevailing in southern Fujian and one of the oldest existing musical forms in China, were staged at the Fu Wen Temple. Classic Nanyin songs, after modern adaptation, became cheerful yet retained its rustic and simple melodies, livening up the centuries-old architecture and winning rounds of applause.

The performances were part of a special musical season event held from the end of July to mid August to boost development of Quanzhou as a model city for World Heritage protection and utilization.

Yao Ying, initiator of the musical event, expected the combination of internationalized music, arts, and local culture to better showcase the inclusiveness of Quanzhou as the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road.

Home to globally famous World Heritage sites, Quanzhou has seen booming tourism. In the first half, the city received a total of 38.16 million domestic and foreign tourist visits, up 49.4 percent year on year, with tourism revenue adding up to 43.18 billion yuan, surging 60.8 percent year on year. 

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