by Xinhua writers Wu Liming, Liu Hua
BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The World Expo 2010 will begin showcasing its charms in Shanghai in a week's time.
The world's grand gathering, with the theme of "Better City, Better Life" this time, draws an unprecedented 192 countries and 50 international organizations, and embodies the common aspirations of mankind for a better life and a better future.
In the 5.28 square-kilometer expo park straddling the Huangpu River, architects from across the globe have joined hands to set up a "town of aspirations" brimming with original designs and colorful cultural diversities.
For instance, the Japanese pavilion, costing 133 million U.S. dollars, is a semi-circular structure covered by a purple-colored membrane, and is dubbed "Purple Silkworm Island" by local residents in Shanghai.
Solar energy and advanced environment-friendly and recycling technologies were used in building the "island" to make it a "breathing organism" and promote harmony between man and nature.
Britain has set up in the Shanghai Expo a "Crystal Palace" -- a dazzling cube formed by more than 60,000 slim and transparent acrylic rods containing seeds of different plants that were collected in a bio-diversity project.
The pavilion, nicknamed "dandelion" by the Chinese public, intends to convey the idea of "Building on the past, Shaping our future."
Meanwhile, the Danes have brought all the way to Shanghai their "Little Mermaid" statue, and the Czechs will present in their pavilion the 300-year-old Bronze plaques that rest on the base of the Saint John Nepomucensis statue in Prague.
To name just a few.
What is more significant is that these marvelous designs are finally transformed from blueprint to reality, even as the world is just starting to recover from the global financial crisis.
The Shanghai expo is just such a platform for people from every corner of the globe longing for a better future to exchange ideas and boost mutual understanding.
At the exposition, the Russians, who view the event as a "global science and technology contest," will introduce to the world their breakthroughs in tidal power stations and new nuclear technologies in energy and ecological spheres.
"Through the World Expo, we would like to show the world the true image of a new Russia that has undergone huge transformations in economy, culture and society," said Russia's Expo Commissioner General Vladimir Strashko.
Hamburg, a sister city of Shanghai, built a "Hamburg House" in the expo park, using solar and geothermal energy and ventilation systems to make its energy consumption 86 percent less than ordinary buildings of the same size.
The house will be transferred to the Shanghai municipality as a gift after the expo, serving as a symbol of the friendship between the two cities.
Nepal sees the Shanghai Expo as a vital opportunity for the promotion of its image in the international arena.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sujata Koirala said Nepal would benefit from participating in the expo as it might fetch "plenty of opportunities" in attracting thousands of tourists to her country.
During the 184 days of grand feasts, visitors will also be inspired by exchanges between civilizations and cultures, advanced notions in urban development as well as brand-new ideas to boost sustainable development.