XI'AN, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- China will build a national heritage park at the site of a former Hun city in the country's northwest in an attempt to preserve cultural relics and drive local tourism, a local official said Sunday.
Authorities plan to build tourism infrastructure around Shaanxi's Tongwancheng Town, the world's only ruins of the ancient Huns, also called the Xiongnu, an ancient Chinese nomadic tribe that fought across northern China, central Asia and Europe, said Guo Xianzeng, deputy head of the provincial bureau of cultural heritage.
"We will also build an underground museum there," Guo said.
Guo said the project will allow tourists to learn about history and enhance public awareness of cultural protection. Construction, which is expected to be completed in five years, will follow strict principles to ensure that the town is well protected.
Officials will try to list the park as a world cultural heritage once it is finished, Guo added.
The 1,600-year-old town is located in Jingbian County, some 500 kilometers away from the provincial capital Xi'an. It was one of the most complete and grand capitals ever built by a minority ethnic group in Chinese history.
The Huns, who thrived during the third century B.C., became one of the largest nomadic ethnic groups in north China and established the first slave regime at the end of the second century B.C.
The State Council, China's cabinet, designated Tongwancheng Town as a cultural relic under top state protection in 1996 out of concern over desertification.