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Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium opens rooftop walkway attraction

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Visitors to China’s capital can experience the Beijing National Stadium from a dramatic new perspective following the the opening of a corridor along the structure’s roof.

According to the China Daily newspaper, visitors can now ascend to the very top of the landmark ground, which was designed by architecture studio Herzog and de Meuron and artist Ai Weiwei for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

A 200m (656ft) section originally built along the roof for maintenance purposes has been extended to 1,000m (3,200ft), with a sightseeing platform at the west end. The highest point of the corridor stands 69m (226.3ft) above the ground.

Steel fences and glass screens have been installed for safety. The China Architecture Design and Research Group have inspected the attraction, and have deemed the roof’s steel beams to be strong enough for the roof corridor's commercial operation.

Views from the roof include other Olympic facilities, such as the National Aquatics Center, the Linglong broadcasting tower and the dragon-shaped lake in the Olympic Green.

Last Saturday (11 February), 40 outdoor sports enthusiasts became the first visitors to enjoy the walkway as part of an orienteering competition. After competing in a cross-country skiing race outside the stadium, and a curling contest on artificial rinks inside, they had to complete a 3.8km course around the ground, culminating in a race along the roof corridor.

"This will add to the stadium's lure as a tourist venue and a popular host of fitness events to benefit the public during its post-Olympic operation,” said Wu Xiaonan, general manager of the stadium. “We would love to see more events organised here featuring the use of the roof corridor.”

According to China Daily, a ticket to the rooftop will set visitors back 80 yuan (US$11.60, €10.90, £9.30.)

The stadium, which is better known as ‘the Bird’s Nest’, has hosted 680 events since the end of the Olympics – including sports competitions, concerts and exhibitions – as part of its legacy programme. It will be used during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, becoming the first venue to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympics opening ceremonies.

Herzog and de Meuron have since built the home stadium for French football club Bordeaux, and have designed the new-look Stamford Bridge ground for English Premier League team Chelsea FC.

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Visitors to China’s capital can experience the Beijing National Stadium from a dramatic new perspective following the the opening of a corridor along the structure’s roof.
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