The Romance Park of the Heart – an abandoned Beijing theme park

Beijing’s filled with hidden secrets. Behind all those highrise tower blocks and overpasses, there is awesomeness to be found. And so it was that we heard rumors of a decrepit half-built theme park, somewhere way out west. The rumors came from a Chinese film student, who’d heard them from a friend, who’d heard them from another friend. No-one knew where on a map they were. “Just go to the Yuquanlu subway stop,” said Bing, “and walk south. That’s where it is! Ask a passerby.”

We did just that. And two hours later, we were still walking and asking passerby. The problem wasn’t that no-one had heard of it… everyone local seemed to know what we were talking about, but everyone local pointed us in a different direction. Two blocks in one direction. Twenty minutes in another. Half an hour walking along a highway. Finally we got wise, and paid a stranger to drive us around the neighborhood. And, in a moment of enlightenment, through a gap in the buildings, we saw what we were looking for: The Romance Park of the Heart.

This is what it looks like from the roadside (at least last year, it did. The last time we happened by, it was all being torn down.)

But this is the majesty inside… a crumbling half-built theme park filled with weeds, wild dogs, feces, broken bottles, and sweet, sweet awesomeness. Swiss chalets, futuristic castles, papier-mache boulders, hutongs, pagodas, and so much more.

 


We went back a few weeks later, and shot this video for the great Beijing band “Girls Are Waiting to Meet You” (feat. Natan Doron, Liu Yang, Kirsten Melby-Thompson, Donna Renae, Luke Tweedy, Wang Xiao Bing, and Michelle Woo)

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