China Begins Construction of Life-Sized Replica of the Titanic

China is currently building its most ambitious replica yet: a “New Titanic.” Being designed as a tourist attraction, the company behind it said it does not only want to copy the look of the infamous ship, but also wants to emulate the experience its ill-fated passengers felt back in 1912 when the supposedly “unsinkable” ship tragically hit an iceberg and sank.

The 1 billion yuan ($145 million) project, which was initially announced in 2013, finally began construction earlier this week, Global Times reported (via Shanghaiist).

According to project developer Star Energy Investment Group, they are building a detailed copy of the original ship’s lavish interior, featuring a huge ballroom, wide spaces and a fancy theater. Like in the real Titanic, guests will be able to dine and stay overnight on the ship, The Associated Press reported.

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But while the builders say they are hoping to reproduce the new Titanic as faithful to the original as possible, they are not really building a fully functioning vessel. The ship will not be sent out into the open sea but instead will be kept docked in a reservoir in Sichuan’s Daying County.

As a tourist attraction, it is being marketed as an interactive ride in which the sinking of the HMS Titanic will be recreated for an exhilarating experience for visitors.

Helping to make the experience believable is Hollywood production designer and producer Curtis Schnell, who said that the firm building the attraction is treating its source material in a “very respectful way.”

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“‘We’re trying to get as close as we can,’ Schnell said. “We are not building every room in the ship, by any means, but the shell of the ship and the exteriors will be quite accurate, there will be interior rooms to be able to tour and see from the standpoint of historical accuracy. “

China’s copycat reconstructions of international iconic landmarks in the past have been a mix of hits and misses with varying degrees of success. Hopefully this one at least stays afloat longer than the original.

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