In ancient times, Beijing was comprised of the inner and the outer city with walls and gates encircling it. But most original gates and walls were mostly demolished in the 1960s. Today, only two of the original inner city gates, Zhengyangmen and Deshengmen, remain. Yongdingmen was the only outer gate that was rebuilt in 2004.
However, a current project to re-create the walls and gates is restoring those ancient memories brick by brick, using precious red sandalwood and ebony. The reconstruction project, initiated by Chen Lihua, a self-made billionaire based in Beijing, and her Red Sandalwood Museum of China, is half finished with nine gates completed. The massive project, which started 10 years ago, is expected to be completed in the next two years with 16 gates re-created.
“I have a dream to restore old Beijing’s memory. The miniature city gates and walls are a cultural legacy for future generations,” says Chen, who is also an active advocate of culture.