Back in 2012, China unveiled a knockoff of the entire Austrian village of Hallstatt.
The real village is centuries old and a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in the Salzkammergut region of upper Austria. With its narrow, cobblestone streets, brightly painted homes, and church steeples surrounded by mountains and a scenic lake, Hallstatt couldn’t be any more Austrian.
While the Chinese knockoff isn’t an exact replica, it’s pretty impressive. The fake version is located in Huizhou, in the country’s Guangzhou province. The Chinese mining company that created it spent nearly $US1 billion on the recreation, in hopes that the town would draw both new residents and tourists. While its touristy section is thriving, its large housing complex, known as Deutsch Kultur (German culture), remains mostly empty.
Story by Sarah Schmalbruch, editing by Stephen Parkhurst