Passes built on the cliffs and a glass suspension bridge are among the highlights of Zhusha ancient town in Guizhou, which has turned from mercury mine site to a tourist hot spot.

The Tongren Wanshan Mercury Mine Site in Southwest China’s Guizhou province is starting an application with the aim of inclusion in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list, according to ThePaper.

Known as China’s “mercury capital”, Wanshan ranked at the top in Asia and No 3 in the world for its mercury reserves. Mercury mining in Wanshan dates back to the Qin and Han dynasties, more than 2,000 years ago, when the mineral was widely used for making pigments. It has a rare 970-kilometer-deep underground mining tunnel and a mass of natural vermilion.

The mercury mine site in Wanshan, later converted into Zhusha ancient town, which covers an area of 5 square kilometers, produced 33,000 tons of mercury and vermilion from 1950 to 2001, accounting for more than 80 percent of the nation’s total output then.

Given the priority of environmental protection and push for green development, the local government shut down the mine and transformed it into a tourism hot spot.

In 2006, the old mercury site was listed as a national cultural heritage site under key protection.

According to a plan made by the local government, the mercury site will be inscribed as a preparatory directory for World Cultural Heritage of China before 2021 and is targeting inclusion in the World Cultural Heritage list by 2025.

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