The witnesses to dynasties, these city ruins are a testament to thousands of years of Chinese civilisation The cities Jiaohe and Gaochang were built around two thousand years ago, as the capital and military posts of an ancient kingdom. Along with Beiting, they became major military towns during the Tang dynasty around 600 AD. Built simply with earth, the ruins have long been threatened by the elements. Protecting the city ruins along the Silk Road
"Cracks can be found everywhere in these ruins, which might collapse at any time. Precipitation here is only 16 millimeters annually. But the evaporation volume amounts to over 4000 millimeters. When water is evaporating, it leaves salt in the earth, which then gets loose and unstable." said Liang Tao, Director, Relic Protection Center, Xinjiang.
Protection efforts have been ongoing in these areas for decades. Numerous tests have been carried out to determine what methods and what materials should be used to stabilize the ruins. Some waterproofing methods have proven effective.
"For eight years, all the ruins protected with this waterproof and anti-weathering method have not been further damaged. They're all in good shape so far." said Liang Tao, Director, Relic Protection Center, Xinjiang.
But Liang also says the fragility of the ruins and extreme weather continue to bring challenges. And further research and testing are needed to save these ancient ruins from fading into history forever.
Protecting the city ruins along the Silk Road
Protecting the city ruins along the Silk RoadProtecting the city ruins along the Silk Road