The development project, named “East Montage”, covering over 400 thousand square meters, has cost a total of 8 billion yuan, or $1.26 billion.
With a canal, European-style buildings, and frescoes reminiscent of renaissance-era Italy, the developer, Dalian East District Corporation, not only aims to build commercial real estate, but also to build a landmark for Dalian city itself.
Zhang Juan, a local resident queuing up for a ride on the gondola, says the East Montage has already attracted a significant crowd of tourists as of late October.
“This is a good thing. This is an opportunity for people who could not go abroad to enjoy the same scenery as that in foreign countries, and expand their vision to learn more about foreign customs and practices. This is really good.”
Many tourists believe that east Montage has provided a pleasant blend of nature and classical occidental architecture.
According to Yan Wei, Vice General Manager of Dalian East, four kilometers of a Venetian-style canal have been constructed.
“We took architecture from Venice and France as blueprints. We channeled sea water to the 4-kilometre-long canal to create what is for China an unprecedented kingdom on the ocean and architectural development complex. Proudly, our East Montage project, since the start of its construction, has made room for the capacity of an urban culture with iconic buildings.”
Yan said that the city is not a direct copy of a classical European city, but is a combination of western and local culture.
“Each building has its own prototype design. I’m not saying that we copied these designs, but we have integrated the maritime and regional cultures of Dalian together with its humanistic principles, and further expanding, innovating, and improving them. It combines the western and Dalian’s features, integrating Dalian’s ideals and maritime culture.”
Most of the completed development in East Montage has already been sold, but plenty of the other unfinished buildings in the city are still up for sale.
Development projects such as East Montage are not uncommon across China. In 2007 Shanghai built its own “mini Paris” complete with a small scale Eiffel Tower, and a detailed building-by-building replica of an Austrian village was finished in southern Guangdong province in 2012.