Great Wall's 'moon gate' rises from the rubble 
following storm collapse

2020年08月14日07:26  来源:山西日报

The rebuilt“moon gate”in the Shanyin section of the Great Wall looks almost the same as it did before becoming damaged four years ago.

When reconstruction of a collapsed gate at the Great Wall in Shanyin county, Shanxi province, was completed on Aug 6, a group of researchers was overwhelmed with excitement.

"We are happy to be witness to the resurrection of the famed 'moon gate'," said Liu Hengshan, chairman of the Society of the Great Wall Studies based in Shuozhou city.

"The renovated gate is almost the same as the original. You can't tell any difference more than 10 meters away," said Wang Jinfei, a photographer of Taiyuan-based Shanxi Daily newspaper.

An enthusiast of the Great Wall, Wang had taken many pictures of the gate before it collapsed in 2016.

The gate, a part of the Shanyin section of the Great Wall 1.4 kilometers away from the renowned Guangwu Fortress, was built in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

The arched gate was a favorite of photographers because pictures with the moon shining through the gate had been a sensation in the media. It was named the "most beautiful landmark of the Great Wall" by enthusiasts.

However, it was destroyed by a heavy storm in October 2016.

"The pass, consisting of the gate and a watchtower, became ramshackle five centuries after its construction. Following a rainstorm that lasted for three days, we found it collapsed," said Yin Chengwu, a local official responsible for the protection of the Great Wall.

Human activities were another reason for the collapse of the gate, in addition to a lack of maintenance over the centuries, according to Zhang Bingfa, one of the founders of the Society of the Great Wall Studies.

He noted that some locals were found taking bricks away from the wall for building their own homes.

"Many sections of the Great Wall are in a similar condition. There is an urgent need to protect and repair the walls," Zhang said.

Local officials in Shanyin quickly responded to the collapse. Engineering measures were taken to prevent other parts of the wall near the gate from falling down.

The government then invited experts on Great Wall protection to draft plans for the reconstruction.

A research team composed of experts from the National Culture and Heritage Administration and the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage was involved in the planning and reconstruction of the gate.

The team members collected more than 3,000 pictures of the "moon gate" to ensure that the new structure keeps its original appearance.

Qiao Yunfei, a member of the team, said new technologies and materials had been used to improve the structure's resistance to natural disasters like storms and earthquakes.

"To keep its original appearance, the new materials were only used in the interior of the structure," Qiao said.

Dozens of tourists also witnessed the completion of the gate. Tang Bin, a tourist from South China's Guangdong province, said he came to the site because he heard that it would reopen on Aug 6.

Bringing his family with him, he said that "we are the most fortunate to be here on the day of its reopening".


Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.