Yongtai Fortress: 400-year-old turtle-shaped ancient town

2021-03-09 Editor : Ji Xiang ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- Yongtai Fortress, a 400-year-old ancient city built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is located in the Gobi desert in Jingtai County of Baiyin, Northwest China's Gansu Province.

It is dubbed "turtle city" for its shape.

A military fortress to defend ethnic groups from the north, there are 12 fort barbettes and four gate towers standing along the fortress walls, with a moat surrounding the complex.

There are also beacon towers stretching dozens of kilometers to the north and south of the city, making it a model of ancient Chinese military engineering.

Li Chongren,70, is a conservator and commentator who has worked here for more than 10 years.

The shape of four "Wengcheng", similar to barbicans of western castles, resembles four claws of a turtle, said Li.

Streets and alleys in the town look like the pattern of a turtle shell.

There used to be 800 households with 2,000 residents here, though there are now only 78 households, Li added.

Due to drought, it has gradually turned into a desolate village.

Due to damage by snow, sleet, wind and sandstorms, cracks and peelings occurred on the ancient walls, posing threats to the safety of tourists.

My duty is to prevent tourists from climbing the walls and report damages to the cultural relic.

Chen Xiuqin is deputy chief of the Administrative Departments of Cultural Relics in Jingtai County.

Since 2012, efforts have been made to reinforce the walls, control floods, and repair the building complex, Chen said.

At present, Yongtai Fortress is generally well preserved. We plan to reinforce conservation, boost tourism here and launch 3D digitization and intelligent management projects in 2021.


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