BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) -- One minute you're being whisked through the busy Belfast shipyard where the Titanic is being built. The next you're contemplating, amid a chilly piped-in breeze and lights mimicking darkened waters, the horror of freezing to death in the North Atlantic.
In between, Belfast's impressive new tourist attraction - the 100-million pound ($160 million, (EURO)120 million) Titanic Belfast visitor center - offers a loving portrait of the excitement, ambition and opulence surrounding the doomed trans-Atlantic liner.
The Associated Press received a sneak preview of Titanic Belfast before its Saturday opening.
With 100,000 tickets already sold, Belfast is betting it will deliver a lasting tonic of tourism to the conflict-scarred city. A three-week festival featuring talks, walks and seven Titanic-themed stage shows - including "Titanic The Musical" - also begins Saturday to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship's launching.
Any visitor's first impression will be of center's stunning exterior: four jutting prows of the ship, lined in silver steel paneling, six stories high.