Tianjin architecture attracts millions of visitors

By An Baijie (China Daily)
Updated: 2012-11-06 09:22

The Tianjin Cultural Center, completed half a year ago with many buildings designed by international artists, has attracted 2.2 million visitors by the end of October, including a delegation of journalists who visited on Monday.

The journalists, from China and abroad, were invited by the press center of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to visit places in Beijing, neighboring Tianjin and Hebei province.

The cultural center, completed on April 28 with an area of 90 hectares, was set to serve as the municipality's showcase of modern arts and culture, with a theater, library, museum, art gallery, science hall, shopping mall and children's center.

The cultural center, which is in the middle of the city and very close to the mayor's office, has become a place for residents to entertain themselves and for tourists to go sightseeing, said Ke Rui, an official from the center's management office.

Tianjin architecture attracts millions of visitors 

Most of the center's facilities, including the library and the museum, are free of charge for all visitors. However, admission is charged to commercial performances in the center's theater, with ticket prices raging from less than 100 yuan ($16) to more than 3,000 yuan, Ke told journalists during a media tour on Monday.

A Japanese journalist on the media tour said on condition of anonymity that he was happy to hear that the library in the Tianjin Cultural Center was designed by a Japanese artist, and that inviting renowned foreign designers showed the municipal government's open-mindedness.

Apart from the library, some other facilities and architecture at the cultural center were also designed by foreign individuals and companies - the stage of the theater was designed by a German company and the fountain in the center's artificial lake was imported from Las Vegas.

"It's such a huge project with so much investment," the Japanese journalist said. "I hope that the local people will make full use of the library and other facilities."

The municipal government invested 6 billion yuan in the construction of the cultural center, said Ke.

To make traffic more convenient for visitors, the local government is building three metro lines to the cultural center, which are scheduled to be finished within the next few years, according to the Tianjin planning bureau.

A total of 300 opera performances will be given every year in the cultural center's Tianjin Grand Theater, with artists from home and abroad appearing in classic and modern operas, said Ke.

Li Yang, 29, a Tianjin resident, said that the cultural center has become an attractive place to read books, see films and watch operas.

"In the past, I liked to see performances of cross talk at local small theaters, but nowadays I often go to the cultural center on the weekend to enjoy culture with an exotic flavor," he said.

China will build a modern cultural industry with innovative content and strong competitiveness, according to a national cultural development blueprint published in February, the Outline of China's Cultural Reform and Development in the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2011-15).

In the next four years, the government will continue to invest in the industry, especially in the public sector.

It called for the construction of cultural activity venues and more instructive cultural products for children.

Other goals include ensuring 99 percent of the rural population has access to television and radio programs, and opening all libraries and museums to the public for free.

In 2010 the total value-added output of China's cultural industry was estimated at more than 1.1 trillion yuan, more than three times that of 2004 and accounting for 2.75 percent of gross domestic product.

Xinhua contributed to this story.