For years, Chinese duplitecture has been the subject of both ridicule and fascination. From a stonehenge replica surrounded by skyscrapers to an abandoned Champs-Élysées, Chinese developers have been unabashed by their adoration of European architecture. The demand for these communities is fueled by China’s burgeoning middle class, who seek the tranquility and charm of the Old World but perhaps cannot afford the plane ticket — they’re also a popular backdrop for newlyweds’ wedding photos. Here we take a look at some of China’s most elaborate reproductions of European cities:
Thames Town, located about 30 kilometres outside of Shanghai, features cobble stone streets and a statue of Winston Churchill. After one too many pints at the pub, you may just believe you’re walking the streets of a quaint English village.
Photo: Huai-Chun Hsu/Flickr
A luxury shopping mall in Tianjin replicates the city of Florence, Italy. The renaissance-style architecture has attracted thousands of tourists each year since its debut in 2011.
Photo: Portable Matthew/Flickr
This replica of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Austria, cost nearly $490 million dollars to build, according to Reuters. The project took just two years to build, while the actual mountain village has been around since 800 B.C.
Gaoqiao, otherwise known as Holland Town, boasts its very own windmill. While the turbine is nonoperational, it does house a wedding photography studio. The village was built as part of the “One City, Nine Towns” housing initiative which was meant to encourage residents of Shanghai to move away from the downtown core and into the suburbs.
Tianducheng is perhaps the most notorious example of Chinese duplitecture. The Parisian recreation was built far out in the countryside and proved unpopular with the wealthy urbanites developers had hoped to attract. The city has since turned into a ghost town, with only a handful of residents to stroll its ornate boulevards.