Millennia-old post office along ancient Silk Road to open to public
LANZHOU, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The restoration of the ruins of Xuanquanzhi, a post office site built over 2,000 years ago along the Silk Road in Dunhuang City, northwest China's Gansu Province, began on Wednesday and is expected to open to the public in 2024.
With an investment of 148 million yuan (about 21.5 million U.S. dollars), the restoration project covers 25,000 square meters and integrates the functions of tourist services and site display, according to Sun Xiaoqiang, president of the Dunhuang Culture & Tourism Group.
Due to inadequate infrastructure, Xuanquanzhi is currently mainly accessible to groups for academic research.
The site of Xuanquanzhi, which dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-25 A.D.), was a comprehensive post for mail and information deliveries, as well as the reception of messengers, officials and foreign guests.
It is among the locations along the Routes Network of the Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor of the Silk Road, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.
"More than 32,000 cultural artifacts, including bamboo scripts, coins, pottery and shoes, were unearthed from the site, providing primary materials for the study of cultural and economic communication between China and the West," said He Shuangquan, who is leading the excavation of the site.