Feb 13, 2013 - China, Shenzhen 2013, Travelling    No Comments

Splendid China Village

Splendid China Village: Potala Palace

Yesterday’s successful Metro venture meant that today I could do the touristy thing. I opted to visit Splendid China Folk Village, which is part of the massive Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) segment of Shenzhen (Window of the World is also part of OCT).

Splendid China Folk Village used to be two separate theme parks, one with miniature replicas of famous Chinese buildings and landscapes, and the other a collection of sets about the various cultures that make up the Chinese nation. Window of the World features miniature replicas of buildings around the world, the Splendid China focuses on miniatures of Chinese structures.

All of the Chinese structures known internationally have a presence in this theme park: The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, the Emperor’s Summer Palace, and Jiayuguan Fort protecting the western end of the Great Wall. And places not so well known.

The park is spread across about 30 hectares, it is just not possible to get through everything in a day, so expect repeat visits. Also, China has a very very long history, so there are lots of diverse locations. China isn’t one culture, although they all share a common written language, there is a lot of diversity, a lot of richness.

The model of the Great Wall of China covers a lot of ground, and at times it seems to protect all the other models. I really liked Jiayuguan Fortress, it’s something I’d love to see reconstructed in Lego, just a gigantic defensive structure attached to an even more gigantic structure.

The first visible model is the Potala Palace, built on a mountain top, and home of the Dalai Lama until 1959. It’s a beautiful structure build on an equisite location, and the model replica is superb.

Because of the hilly nature of the park, as you spend time looking at the Great Wall, the Jiayuguan Fortress and the Potala Palace don’t forget to look behind you because you get to see the rest of the park far below.

There’s also a segment of the park covering the architecturally advanced bridges, beautiful and using revolutionary techniques that are now well understood. And still structurally beautiful and well crafted.

The park was quite busy today, it started off as a cool day but warmed up to a typical Spring day. With the live open-air performances and the size of the crowd it was noisy at times. The food stalls were doing a roaring trade, lots of kebabs/skewers, and I notice corn on the cob being quite popular. And there was a Korean skewer stall playing Gangnam Style on repeat throughout the day, what is there not to like!

The culture village is a more hands on full-size replicas, of homes and pagodas, and bridges. All celebrating the diverse cultures of China. A wind and rain bridge, designed for people seeking shelter in that weather, is also known as a place where couples meet and fall in love.

There is also full size replicas of selected examples of the Stone Forest, and other naturally occuring features of Chinese landscapes.

There is a lot of history and stories crammed into this park, it is quite something. And a good place for a long walk.

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