Beijing National Stadium - Picture gallery

China’s national arena - known by many as the ‘Bird’s Nest’ Stadium due to its unique architectural design - has a capacity of 80,000 and was opened in June 2008 ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

The venue was designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, and leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was the artistic consultant on the project.

The stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and much of the track and field programme of the 2008 Olympic Games and has been hailed by many as one of the finest stadiums in the world.

It is also claimed to be one of the world's most environmentally-friendly stadiums, as undersoil geothermal pipes help heat indoor parts of arena in winter and rainwater is collected and stored in underground cisterns for irrigation and to flush lavatories.

The stadium is designed to last for 100 years and withstand a force eight magnitude earthquake.

Post-Games, the stadium has hosted a number of events including the Italian Super Cup (in 2009 and 2011) and the 2009 Race of Champions. In July 2010 Birmingham City played a friendly against Chinese side Beijing Guoan at the venue as part of their pre-season tour.

The stadium will also host the 2015 World Athletics Championships.

Arsenal's tour to China this summer is being promoted by Winoly.

All pictures © PA Photos.

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29 Feb 2012