China’s big dig

China’s big dig

The country’s latest tourist attraction is… subterranean. It’s no ordinary cavern either – the Chinese media think it is “the world’s largest man-made cave”. Located in Chongqing – and over a third larger than Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal – the cave counts as one of Mao Zedong’s more megalomaniacal initiatives. Construction began in 1967 at a time when the Great Helmsman feared that deteriorating relations with the Soviet Union might lead to Moscow launching a nuclear strike. It was designed to withstand an H-bomb or an 8.0 earthquake. But the grand project came at a cost, reports the Chengdu Daily: it required 60,000 workers and was not completed till 1984. Not that Mao lived long enought to cut the opening ribbon, of course.

Cave 816, as it is called, is now open to the public. Future uses? WiC forecasts it may make a good place for China’s billionaires to store their growing French wine collections.

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