Yangquan repurposes old factory as bastions of culture
The Yangquan Pump Factory is now, after renovation, the 1947 Yangquan Memory Cultural Park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
In Yangquan, imposing old factory buildings have become unlikely popular cultural attractions that evoke memories of the past for many – the result of the city's push to retain and conserve local history and culture, even amid widespread urban renewal.
As a typical industrial city in North China's Shanxi province, from the 1960s, Yangquan formed a complete industrial system supported by eight main industries, giving birth to more than 400 flourishing enterprises until 1987.
Visitors view old photos showcasing Yangquan's past in the 1947 Yangquan Memory Cultural Park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Among them, the Yangquan Pump Factory, established in 1946, has witnessed the industrial growth of the city. Its castings, machining equipment and pumps once sold well across China.
However, the factory which once made a great contribution to the city's development gradually lagged behind in Yangquan's industrial structural adjustments and transformation.
Locals take a nostalgic trip to the past, as they tour the 1947 Yangquan Memory Cultural Park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
To explore the factory's cultural tourism value and preserve its industrial heritage, Yangquan launched a repair and reconstruction project there in 2021.
"According to the plan, we carefully designed every possible space for renovation, insisted on retaining and continuing the original shape, structure and industrial traces of the old buildings, and integrated the elements of modern life into the industrial heritage," said Cui Xiaolin, general manager of project.
As a result, the abandoned factory was upgraded into a cultural park called 1947 Yangquan Memory.
There are plenty of books to browse in the 1947 Yangquan Memory Museum in the cultural park. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The 9.67-hectare facility is now divided into two sections. The east area is a public cultural and leisure experience area integrating industrial displays, life experiences, cultural creativity and art works. The west area is a commercial block providing catering, accommodation, leisure, entertainment and educational services for children.
The cultural park has three major halls – 1947 Yangquan Memory Museum Hall, Yangquan Meeting Room and Yangquan Workers' Auditorium – which give visitors an overview of the city's past, and offer venues for various meetings, lectures, galas, product displays, cultural exhibitions and training sessions.
The old factory's revitalization has showcased Yangquan's urban development over the past decades, preserving the memories and industrial working lives of its locals – creating a way to explore the cultural and tourism value of industrial relics in the city.