LANZHOU, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China will invest in the renovation of an ancient military stronghold in Xiahe County, northwest China's Gansu Province, local authorities said Tuesday.
The project, which is estimated to cost around 350 million yuan (53 million U.S. dollars), aims to reinforce and renovate the entrances and exterior defense walls of Bajiao town, without altering their original appearance, according to the county's culture and sports bureau.
Located in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Gannan, Bajiao town covers an area of more than 20 hectares. Historical records show that it was once an important military stronghold in western China.
"It is not known when Bajiao was established. Some historians claim that it was built in the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.), while others say it was during the Tang (618-907) or Song (960-1279) dynasties," said Sonam Je, deputy director of the bureau.
More than 100 households of herders still live in the town and graze their cattle on pasture surrounding it. Over the years, the weather has eroded the town's fortifications, and they are at risk of being completely destroyed within a few decades.
Repairs have started on the southern enclosure for defense outside Baojiao city gate, while the renovation of the ancient city wall is set to begin next year.
The name Bajiao, which literally means "eight angles" in Chinese, comes from the unique formation of its exterior walls which have eight corners
The provincial government began researching the history of Bajiao in 1986. "Its defense system, with its unusual design, is rarely seen in ancient towns in China. It has great historical research value," said Sonam Je.