SAND-CARVING ART: Sand-carving will be demonstrated at the expo by nine artists from around China using 7,000 cubic meters of sand (XINHUA)
"In the process of rapid urbanization, Xi'an hasn't ignored the protection of its historical heritage and ecological environment, and is a very good example for many other cities in China," said Li Zhen, a reporter from China's Foreign Trade magazine.
The Guangyun Lake, the venue of the event, was once a dredging operation field and garbage dump where the river was seriously polluted. This was addressed in the past six years and the site was transformed from an ecological disaster area to a famous tourist attraction in the city of Xi'an, Wang said.
Concepts for green life are being introduced to the Xi'an IHE, including simple decoration, low-carbon travel, valuing grain, saving and recycling water and growing flowers and trees.
"As we know, the concept of the expo is Green Leading Fashion, which means showing the harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature. The demonstration of low-carbon and environment-friendly technologies at the expo also embodies its green concepts," Li said.
On how to deal with the site's vast land area when the expo is done, the organizing committee has the answer already. "The main area of the expo will be kept as an eternal legacy of the 2011 Xi'an IHE. About one third of the expo, not including the water area, will be rebuilt to be a theme park for citizens to visit and the remainder will be turned into a creative industry zone," said Wang.
The four main buildings of the expo site are the Chang'an Tower, Greenhouse, Theme Pavilion and the Guangyun Entrance, featuring a blend of classical Chinese architecture and modern Western architecture.
The Chang'an Tower, at 99 meters, has seven floors and is made of steel. There is a huge bodhi tree inside the tower, the trunk of which is covered by paintngs of 50 teachers and students from Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts.
The expo will be featured with five major horticultural scenic spots—the Chang'an Flower Valley, Colorful Plants from Qinling Mountains, Flowers along the Silk Road, the Overseas Collections and the Flower Rainbow over the Ba River.
As well, there are three characteristic zones: Romance by the Ba River, Southeast Asian Street and European Avenue, each introducing different lifestyles from different continents.
"This year's expo has added many international factors, allowing normal Chinese to enjoy world culture without stepping out of the country," Li said.
Additionally, gorgeous works of art, sculptures from China and abroad, such as the Fantastic Forest, the Silk Road, the Tree Branch Horse and the Water Dragon, will be on show during the expo, which will enable visitors to fully experience the beauty of an amalgamation of gardening, horticulture, architecture and culture.
It will also be the first time the IHE host city has introduced rare animals, as the organizing committee has invited four national treasures of China to live in the site from March 28, 2011. They are the Four Qinling Legends: namely, the giant panda, takin, crested ibis and the golden monkey.
"People only know Sichuan Province is home to giant pandas, but west China is also one of the important habitats for the animal," Wang said.
International communication is another highlight of the expo. There will be 12 international exhibitions, seven of which are international contests and five are international exhibitions. The competition pavilion was especially built for the occasion and the first one to take place was the orchid contest which ran from April 23. The result will be unveiled during the exhibition's opening ceremony.
Many masters of the art of horticulture were hired to design this year's IHE. The Chang'an Tower was designed by Zhang Jingqiu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. For the first time in the history of the IHE, nine horticultural parks for masters in horticultural art and 10 parks for universities have been designed by teachers and students from world-famous horticultural schools. These will be filled with works representing the world's highest level of the art of horticulture.