China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration announced on August 7 that it has recommended the urban Central Axis of Beijing as a candidate for the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list for 2024. Running 7.8 kilometers from north to south, the over 700-year-old Central Axis encompasses historic cultural sites such as the Palace Museum, the Bell and Drum Tower and the vestiges of gatehouses. With the city walls demolished and many moats drained, the old city of Beijing has lost its ancient character. To recover and preserve the Central Axis which was built in a symmetrical layout, great efforts have been made to renovate or relocate incongruous constructions. But the controversy remains as to whether a renovated or restored site, no matter how strictly the ancient craftsmanship has been adopted, can still be called an ancient relic. However, experts believe the application is a good opportunity to restore the beauty of the residential courtyards that flank both sides of the axis which have become rundown and overcrowded dwellings.