Tourists often leave their mark on destinations they visit. But in the case of the Great Wall of China, the problem is more literal; graffiti in the form of names scratched into the stone are damaging the ancient monument.

At the more popular sections of the wall, the problem has become so bad that authorities are trying a new approach to preventing it. On Sunday, Chinese news outlets reported that a specific graffiti area will be established at the Mutianyu section of the wall where visitors will be free to leave their mark in the hope of containing the scribbling, which, according to reports, is more likely to be in foreign languages (mostly English) than it is Chinese.

The graffiti section will be set up at one of the fighting towers that has become a common place for tourists to scrawl on the walls. Authorities have also aired the idea of setting up an electronic touch-screen graffiti wall in the future. Electronic walls have proved popular in China in the past and last year three were set up at another popular tourist attraction, Yellow Crane Tower Park in Wuhan, to tackle the same problem.

Still, it is not just ancient sites in China that struggle with graffiti. Last May, the parents of a Chinese teenager were forced to apologise after photos were posted online of their son’s name scratched into the wall of a 3,500 year old temple in Egypt.

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Photo Credit: Graffiti is scratched into a section of the Great Wall of China. d'n'c / Flickr