A museum of Chinese gardens will welcome its first visitors on May 18, the opening day of the Ninth China (Beijing) International Garden Expo.
After 18 months of construction, the China Garden Museum, located in southwestern Beijing's Fengtai district, is getting its finishing touches with 85 percent of construction completed, said Qiang Jian, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry.
"The China Garden Museum will not only present a museum of life to the public, but also unfold the rich cultural fabric of classical Chinese gardens to visitors from home and abroad," he said.
"Tourists can get a general and in-depth understanding of Chinese classical gardens, modern gardens and afforestation skills," he said.
According to Gu Xiaoyuan, a publicity officer of the Fengtai district government, the museum has collected 4,000 exhibits through donations, auctions and purchases.
The museum guides are receiving training to guarantee quality of service when the museum opens in May.
The museum will be free to the public to further boost and popularize Chinese garden culture, she said.
The museum is expected to open on the same day of the opening of the Ninth China (Beijing) International Garden Expo, jointly hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and Beijing municipal government.
The expo, which runs from May to November, will boast 46 exhibitions featuring exhibitors from 60 domestic cities, said the organizing committee.
Hua Weijun, deputy director in charge of the expo's construction, said the museum and expo will greatly speed up the development of the Fengtai district and the southern area of Beijing.
"The place where the museum and expo is located used to be barren ground covered with sparse vegetation," he said.
"The expo and museum has not only improved the city's scenery but accelerated infrastructure construction, with subways and roads being built and more jobs created for local residents," he said.
A total of 24.2 kilometers of road is being built nearby to support the expo and improve traffic conditions in the western region along the Yongding River.
The western section of subway Line 14 will also open on May 5 to serve crowds attending the expo, according to the capital's traffic authority.
In addition, some polluting industries are also planning to move out of the city, Hua said.
The capital has been taking measures to develop its southern region since 2010, which has transformed the area from being heavily reliant on low-end industries such as cement factories and small coal mines, into a bustling commercial center and home to many educational institutes.
The establishment of the museum and expo is part of these efforts.