The Great Mall of China

  • The center is big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses.

    The center is big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses.

  • The New Century Global Center boasts an artificial sun and beach.

    The New Century Global Center boasts an artificial sun and beach.

  • The exterior of the gargantuan New Century Global Center.

    The exterior of the gargantuan New Century Global Center.

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Forget the pandas: Chengdu’s newest attraction is the 176-hectare New Century Global Center, billed as the largest standalone building in the world. Big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses or three Pentagons under its undulating roof, the mega-structure is home to everything from shops and offices to hotels, a 14-screen IMAX theater, an ice-skating rink, a faux Mediterranean village, and a soon-to-open water park complete with an indoor tropical beach. Illuminated 24 hours a day by what has been described as an “artificial sun,” the building might even be vast enough to keep a sizable portion of the Sichuanese capital’s 14 million population entertained come the weekend.

Christi Hang

This article originally appeared in the August/Sept 2013 issue of DestinAsian (“Great Mall of China”)

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