Sylvan simulation

Published: Monday 15 March 2004

What was designed as a hangar for 21st century airships will soon be converted into the world's largest indoor rainforest. German officials have permitted Tropical Island Corporation, a uk-Malaysian business consortium, to begin work on this us $75-million project in Brand, south of Berlin.

The massive arched glass and steel structure will house rainforest flora and fauna as well as indigenous cultures of six villages of Malaysia, Thailand, the Congo, the Amazon, Bali and Polynesia. Over 160 artistes will entertain visitors along the 1.2-kilometre-long jungle pathways. Cargolifter -- the now-defunct German company which owned the over-100-metre-high, 30-metre-long and 210-metre-wide hangar -- sold it to Tropical Island Corporation for more than us $20 million. The latter hopes to complete the work by October.

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