Cultural routes in China

The urban heritage trails of Chóngqing

Authored by: Junli Chen , David Jones

The Routledge Handbook on Historic Urban Landscapes in the Asia-Pacific

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138598256
eBook ISBN: 9780429486470
Adobe ISBN:


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Cultural routes are an important part of cross-national terrestrial and aquatic cultural landscapes. Often developed for trade, like the Silk Route or China’s Grand Canal or the Suez Canal, they can also embody cultural values like religious pilgrimages, defence corridors like the Great Wall of China or the Kokoda Trail, or spiritual journeys like the Australian songline network. In the last 20 years, ICOMOS has recognized the merit and absence of this cultural heritage type in its Lists and Declarations/Charters, identifying it as a ‘gap’, prompting many nations to revisit their World Heritage Lists and their national heritage tapestries to see whether such corridors exist and possess international heritage merit. While internationally known places like the Grand Canal, the Great Wall and the terracotta army have been subject to considerable research and government activity and investment, the topic of cultural routes in China has been little invested and is little understood. This chapter reviews the concept of Cultural Routes as a cultural urban heritage type internationally and in China, considers this heritage type having regard to ICOMOS and China ICOMOS heritage instruments and policies, and reflects upon the exemplar of the historic mountain-trails in the historic city of Chongqing, China.

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