Chinatown in the nation’s capital has been home to many Chinese-Americans since the 1930s. Chinese New Year has become an annual festival not only celebrated by Chinese, but also many Washingtonians.
Every year, hundreds of people, Chinese and American, parade through the Chinatown Friendship Archway. The arch is designed by Chinese American architect Alfred H. Liu, as a token of friendship between Beijing and Washington when they first established the sister city program. It is the largest and most expensive single span archway in the world, with total cost of $1 million.
There is five pounds of gold on top of the arch. Over 500 artisans were brought from China to hand paint the designs on the arch. It includes seven roofs, 7000 tiles, and 272 painted dragons in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
As explained by Alfred Liu, it’s mandatory for all Chinatown businesses and buildings to have some Chinese elements in their design, in accordance with the landscape of Chinatown. The developers and architects were required to learn Chinese traditional architecture before they can start constructions in Chinatown. All the trees in Chinatown are Chinese trees. Even on the pavement, there is a Chinese astrology sign on every 200 square feet, such as rooster, horse, and dragon.