It may be the worst repair job ever: What began as an effort to patch up a crumbling 700-year-old portion of China's Great Wall ended up as an unsightly trail of what looks like smooth gray concrete. CNN reports the patch job took place in 2014, but after a report this week on it by Beijing News, it's being pilloried on social media. "Glad Venus de Milo is not in China, or someone would get her a new arm," wrote one user on the network Weibo. The restoration of what the New York Times describes as a 1.2-mile stretch of the wall in northeastern China went "very badly," admits Dong Yaohui, deputy director of the Great Wall of China Society. "Although the local government was well intentioned and wanted to restore the bricks of the Wall, the result turned out to be the opposite," he says.
The Times reports officials say they didn't use concrete, but rather a lime-sand mix, in the restoration of part of the Xiaohekou stretch of the wall; a park officer counters that both were used. Quartz notes the Xiaohekou portion had been known as a delightfully "wild" and less trafficked part of the wall to visit, but a hotel owner in Yong'anpu village says bookings have tanked, clients have complained, and it's "slippy" to walk on. The mishap occurred despite regulations established in 2006 governing the development of tourist sites. It also comes just as conservationists launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $1.6 million to protect deteriorated portions of the 13,000-mile-long wall. It could have been worse: China's nationalist government in 1931 considered turning the wall into a highway, notes Time. (China's great flood legend might actually be true.)