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Ancient Life to Revive in Nanjing's Ming City

A Ming (Dynasty) City of 10 square kilometres will be built in the southern suburb of this capital of East China's Jiangsu Province with an investment of 3 billion yuan (US$360 million), adding to the 300 man-made scenery spots throughout China.

The city will include a park representing culture and life in the era of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a Nanjing Amusement Park similar to the profitable one in Suzhou, and about 10 "water towns" comprising villas, according to an agreement signed on Sunday by the tourism bureau of Nanjing's Jiangning County and Song Tourism Group, a private enterprise from East China's Zhejiang Province.

According to Cao Yonglin, vice-magistrate of Jiangning County, this largest tourism construction project in Jiangsu will be completed in five years.

The scenic spot aims to attract residents of Nanjing and tourists from East China, especially from Shanghai. Its location, at Niutoushan, is near 10 highways, including one from Shanghai to Nanjing and the Nanjing Lukou International Airport.

The cultural relics nearby, including the Tomb of Zheng He and Tombs of Two Emperors of the Southern Tang, will be well protected during the construction and developed into tourism sites, according to sources with Jiangning County's tourism bureau.

The project is Nanjing's second attempt to take advantage of the fact that it was once the capital of the Ming Dynasty. The first, carried out five years ago with an investment of 60 million yuan (US$7.2 million), planned to build a similar one in the Forbidden Palace of the Ming Dynasty but fell through before completion.

However, the investors expressed confidence in Nanjing's market potential, since a similar Song City is making profits in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang.

According to sources with the Nanjing Municipal Tourism Bureau, tourism projects will be launched in Jiangning after Ming City, further representing the traditions of the Qinhuai River and life in the capitals of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280), the Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420-581) and the Kuomintang period before 1949.

According to Pan Guxi, professor of city planning with the Nanjing-based Southeast University, more than 1,000 man-made scenery sites emerged like mushrooms around China in the 1990s and 80 per cent of them have gone bankrupt, resulting in a loss of 300 billion yuan (US$36 billion).

Among the bankrupt sites were about 100 Monkey King Cities, one of which was located at the site of the new Ming City.

(China Daily 06/20/2001)

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