Olympic torch relay starts in central China's Anyang City

2008-07-28 02:10:51 GMT       2008-07-28 10:10:51 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

ZHENGZHOU, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Olympic torch started the final leg of its relay across central China's most populous province of Henan at 8 am on Monday in Anyang, home to the oracle bone inscriptions.

Altogether 208 torchbearers, aged between 14 and 78, will take part in the 5.9 kilometers relay in Anyang.

"The relay brings honor and festivity to the ancient city," said Zhang Guangzhi, secretary of the Anyang City Committee of the Communist Party of China, at a grand ceremony marking the commencement of the relay.

Li Ruiying, one of country's best-known anchorwomen at China Central Television, ran the first leg amid deafening cheers of the people standing along the road.

Anyang is known for the ruins of an ancient capital town dating back to the Shang Dynasty (16-11 centuries B.C.). The site was inscribed into the World Heritage List in 2006 as one of the earliest centers of the Chinese civilization.

With a history of more than 3,300 years, the ruins covering 24 square kilometers were proven by a large number of oracle bone inscriptions excavated there to be the earliest of its kind in China, featuring the civilization of Bronze Age.

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