Beijing residents and visitors can see the Potala Palace, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and the Three Gorges Dam during the National Day "Golden Week" celebration and all without leaving Tian'anmen Square. No herculean miracles of engineering have been accomplished to bring these wonders to Beijing, the square is only home to replicas of the above.
Other colorful features are a themed parterre made of hundreds of thousands of flowerpots and giant statues of the five Friendlies, the 2008 Olympics mascots.
"We have tried to combine gardening techniques with current social themes in the best way," said Zhou Jianping, vice-director of Beijing Gardening and Forestation Bureau. "This year the increased number of displays are more eye-catching than ever before."
A 1:25 scale replica of Lhasa's Potala Palace in front of the Great Hall of the People celebrates the completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. A "train" coated with Chinese flowering crab-apples runs across the "Qinghai-Tibet Plateau" and arrives at "Lhasa," representing the capital of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
The Friendlies' statues will be illuminated at night to grace the 60-meter-long parterre set near the center of the square. The parterre is made up of 120 kinds of flowers and 500,000 flowerpots, with the theme of unity across all peoples.
"Of the 120 kinds, 50 are new species, and are also candidates for the 2008 Olympics decorations," Zhou said. "All the large ornamental flowers and bonsais will be transferred back to nurseries in the Beijing suburbs, as we have been doing for years, and other annual flowers will be recycled as fertilizer."
Zhou said the design of the square's decoration this year has kept the public in mind. The parterre has been moved 10 meters to the south compared with previous years, allowing more people to watch the flag-raising on Sunday morning.
A large fountain sits in the middle of the parterre, shooting water as high as 38 meters.
"Technicians will lower the amount of gushing water when it is windy to avoid spraying tourists nearby," Zhou said.
"We really enjoy seeing the flowery architecture here. It is one of the most beautiful birthday gifts to our great republic," said Wang Xiaoying, a visitor from East China's Shandong Province, on holiday in the capital with her family.
Besides the decorations in the Tian'anmen area, Beijing is a sea of flowers, with more than 3 million flowerpots prepared and arranged by community centers, companies and organizations.
(China Daily September 30, 2006)