What the project aims to achieve is the recognition of the Great Wall as a living ecosystem, showing a different picture of the Wall, namely not the architectural nor historical sight, instead the human and natural ecosystem, exploring human activities in the area and understanding how they interact with the natural environment and the Wall and how these three elements are or can become mutually beneficial. During the fieldwork there will be a comprehensive observation and collection of information about the cultural peculiarities and natural uniqueness of the ecosystem. The project aims at correctly produce an innovative interpretation of the issue itself.

While travelling along the provinces, another purpose will be that of exploring Sino-European cultural relations through a bottom-up approach, showing that cooperation between two passionate foreigners and local long-established communities can be mutually beneficial, especially if the common aim is the conservation of an ecosystem, which is also a world heritage. Increase awareness on the importance of conservation, sustainable development, tourism sustainability, value and respect of local cultures, and on the close ties between nature and cultural heritage is another main goal. This goes well along with the aim of fostering Great Wall ecosystem environmental preservation through sharing positive practices and new solutions abiding from mutual dialogue and common experiences. Collecting and sharing views, tools, experience and examples of various local communities on development opportunities while respecting and conserving the environment, in order to conduct sustainable activities. 

All of this will be made stressing the splendor and variety of rural local cultures in China, less famous than touristic sights, nonetheless characterized by an equally relevant cultural heritage, fostering their conservation. Understanding whether habits, food, typical products, myths and beliefs of various communities living along different spots of the Wall share similarities due to this common characteristic; in other terms, the goal consists of understanding whether the Ming Dynasty Wall has been a “Great Road” connecting and influencing distant communities living along it. We intend to encourage this new study approach integration to existing ones.

At the end of the day, inspiring explorers and dreamers of all ages, showing that even small steps may have a positive impact on a wider community, is the final reason why this initiative came to life. The aim is to show that the Chinese proverb “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is not just a common saying, instead it can become true with the right balance between passion, reason and preparation.



How do the Chinese protect the Great Wall?

2021-03-22 11:54


maintainance, protectors, volunteer, cultural crimes,

How do the Chinese protect the Great Wall?

To protect the Great Wall is for China an important task. How do Chinese protect this ancient heritage?




How Chinese protect the Great Wall?



To protect the Great Wall ancient heritage is for China an important goal to preserve its national culture. 


In order to achieve a comprehensive protection of the Great Wall, China issued a comprehensive plan (长城保护总体规划) to establish a long-term mechanism for its conservation and utilization. Nowadays, we can identify, apart from the legal background in terms of regulations, an increasing role of the civil society in participating actively in the preservation of the Great Wall ancient heritage and in its comprehensive maintenance.


It is possible to identify three main groups of people who are active in the Great Wall protection and preservation.


  1. Local villagers who actively contribute to the maintenance of some Great Wall parts. They act on their own;
  2. Local organized group of volunteers;
  3. Professionals teams.

Regarding the local villagers, one of the most famous “great wall protectors” (长城保护人) is Li Dewang, 李德旺, a 63-year-old man living in Xuliukou Village (Hebei). He cleans rubbish and weeds on a dalily basis, reminds tourists and shepherds to preserve the site, and he records and reports damages to the local cultural relics’ protection department.


Many local organized groups of volunteers, such as the Beijing Cultural Relics Conservation Volunteers, intensively promote the protection of cultural relics as the Great Wall. These groups organize several events along the Wall in order to pursue its maintenance and preservation. The involvement of the schools is also an important step in Chinese education, being the visit to the heritage regarded as a moment of communicating national pride and responsibility. 


Concerning the several professional teams working to maintain and preserve the great Wall, they were more consistently introduced with the Great Wall Protection Master Plan of 2019. This category is composed of archeologists, engineers and renovators who operate under the direction of local government guidelines. They work on several fields and competences, from strengthening technical prevention, implementing cultural relics safety responsibilities, daily supervision and management, to combating Cultural relics crimes.


Pictures credits

- www.greatwallheritage.cn (cover photo)

- www.news.cn (vertical photo)

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