China opens underwater museum

20th May 2009

China has unveiled another world first with the opening of an underwater museum near Fuling City in Chongqing.

The Baiheliang Museum is home to what’s claimed to be the world’s oldest hydrological survey device – a ridge which gives the museum its name (Baiheliang translates as White Crane Ridge).

The museum is 40 metres below the surface of the Yangtze River. When the ridge was due to be submerged during the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the government decided to build the museum around it to preserve it.

The 1,600 metre-long and 25 metre-wide ridge has 20 fish sculptures that have served as water markers for centuries. It’s also covered in around 30,000 Chinese characters of poetry about the river dating back to 763AD.

Visitors can see the ridge and its markers through portholes in the museum or via a video camera in an exhibition room back on dry land.

The museum is linked to the banks of the river by a connecting passageway.

It cost around 189 million yuan (£17.7 million) to build.



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