This past Wednesday, work was started on a full-sized replica, or copy, of the famous ocean liner Titanic. The people behind the project are from China's Romandisea theme park in Sichuan province. Though Sichuan is landlocked (meaning it has no major seas near it), the ship will rest in a reservoir, or human-made lake. In fact, the ship will never actually go out to sea or carry passengers. Instead, it is going to be a tourist attraction for people to visit.
One of the most famous—and tragic—ships of all time
At the time of its launch in April of 1912, the 269 metre-long (883 ft.) Titanic was one of the largest ocean liners in the world. It was considered the ultimate in luxury travel and was already a famous vessel before it even set sail.
Tragically though, the ship sunk on its maiden (or first) voyage. It struck an iceberg on the evening of April 14, 1912. Over 1,500 of the ship's 2,224 passengers died in the tragedy. It is still one of the worst maritime (ocean) disasters in history that was not related to war.
The sad history of the Titanic and its passengers leads to a good question: why rebuild this ship? As it turns out, the main reason for this theme park isn't really the ship itself. It's the 1997 film Titanic that was set on the ship. That movie was a massive hit around the world, but it is especially big in China. The love story of the film's central characters is a big part of China's popular culture. When the movie was rereleased in 3D in 2012, it was a huge success in the country for a second time.
Now, James Cameron, the director of Titanic, built his own replica for the filming of the movie. But it was only 90% the size of the original boat. This time, the ship will be full size. When finished, the Chinese attraction won't have absolutely every single room that was on board the original. But it will recreate Titanic's most iconic, or well-known, locations, including its theatre, ballroom, dining rooms, staterooms (luxury rooms), and the central staircase (which was a large part of the film). The hope is that tourists will be able to imagine themselves on the vessel, in the midst of one of their favourite stories.