SAN JOSE -- Costa Rica has officially opened the world's newest Chinatown, joining more than 100 others around the world.
Mayor Johnny Araya said the opening of Chinatown on Wednesday was a part of his plan to give the city a new visage with more public spaces for people, adding it would be an important tourist site to help boost trade and employment.
People look through the window of a store selling Chinese products during the inauguration of a Chinatown in San Jose, Dec 5, 2012. Costa Rica joined the list of 100 countries in the world that have a Chinatown. [Photo/Agencies]
The Chinatown, a 600-meter long pedestrian street lined with Chinese style shops, is located in the capital's downtown.
Dragon dancers, Chinese music and several characters dressed in traditional Chinese garments added color to the opening ceremony.
The project started last February with a donation of more than $1.5 million from China.
Chinese workers built a traditional Chinese arch, inspired by Tang Dynasty (618-907) architecture, to welcome visitors.
People perform a lion dance during the inauguration of a Chinatown in San Jose, Dec 5, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
Chinese Community president Isabel Yung said the Chinatown was "an old dream" of Chinese immigrants in the Central American country, adding the area demonstrated the cultural exchange between Chinese and Costa Ricans.
She said the first Chinese arrived in Costa Rica about 200 years ago and now about 60,000 Chinese, both immigrants and descendants, lived in the country.