China’s construction boom has been one of the biggest drivers of economic growth in the past few years.
And although most of that has been original infrastructure, China also focused its attention on building replicas of world-famous tourist destinations.
Many of the original “world wonders” are considered cultural status symbols that reflected an empire’s soft power. Consequently, some analysts believe that it’s about more than just pretty tourist spots for China.
“The ancient parallels for these copycat projects suggest that they are not mere follies, but monumental assertions of China’s global primacy,” Oxford University scholar and archaeologist Jack Carlson wrote a few years back.
A nearly full-scale copy of the Great Sphinx of Giza, which was built by the ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom circa 2500 BC, is now standing at an unfinished theme park in Chuzhou, Anhui province in China.
In the Beijing World Park, there are replicas of the Washington DC's White House and Lincoln Memorial, as well as New York's Statue of Liberty.
Other fun things you can find in the Beijing World Park include the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In total, there are over 100 world famous attractions in the park.
In Shanghai, you can find a copy of Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa, which was originally designed by Bonanno Pisano, and eventually completed during the Italian Renaissance.
In China's southern city of Huizhou, in Guangdong province, there's a copy of Austria's UNESCO heritage site, Hallstatt. China Minmetals Corporation spent nearly $1 billion building this 'controversial' site, according to Reuters.
One development company started building a fake Paris back in 2007 in Hangzhou, in the Zhejiang Province, complete with a scaled Eiffel Tower. Although it was designed for 10,000 people, the development is 'sparsely populated, and is now considered a 'ghost town,'' according to Reuters.
In the Wuqing district, you can find 'Florentia Village,' which is a 200,000 square meter shopping center designed with Florentine arcades, a grand canal, and bridges. It's built on top of a former corn field, according to Reuters.
In Beijing's Mentougou district, one government building that houses several departments, including the Mentougou Weather Bureau, looks similar to Moscow's Kremlin.
Beijing has copies of the Moai statues. The 887 originals are found on the remote Chilean island, Easter Island, and were probably constructed somewhere between 1250 and 1500 CE.
In China's Jiangyan, Jiangsu province, you can find a mini, 10-foot version of Paris' Arc de Triomphe, which was originally built in the 19th century to commemorate those who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.
And, somewhat fittingly, China's Macau -- a gambling hotspot -- houses a replica of Rome's Colosseum.
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