CHINA'S MOST AUDACIOUS RIP-OFF: An Entire Austrian Town Is Being Reproduced


Photo: philip bouchard via flickr

The 946 people in the Austrian town of Hallstatt are up in arms at Chinese efforts to replicate their entire village in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.According to der Spiegel, the Chinese government is so enamoured of the UNESCO World Heritage site that it has begun a project to build its own brick-by-brick version of the town.

Click here to see pictures of Hallstatt >

The mayor of Hallstatt, Alex Scheutz, found out about the project when he was approached by Chinese architects eager to arrange a partnership between the two villages. “The people are not very impressed with what’s happened behind their back,” he told der Spiegel.

Scheutz told the German paper his town’s economy is based upon the 800,000 visitors a year that come to the idyllic lakeside town who “photograph everything and everyone”.

Officials from the village’s historic church are extremely concerned with their place of worship being cloned in a Communist country. The local priest told Die Presse, that the new church must at least be anointed a place of prayer.

While not everyone is against the project, creating an exact duplicate may not be legal according to  UNESCO spokesman Hans-Jörg Kaiser, “The legal situation still needs to be examined,” he said.

Hallstatt is located in the Salzkammergut region in upper Austria

The whole village can be toured on foot in 10 minutes

It's possible to visit the world's first salt mine located above downtown Hallstatt

The town has many restaurants and hotels to accommodate its large tourist population

It occupies a narrow strip of land between the steep mountainsides and a large lake called the Hallstattersee

The hamlet also gave its name to the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture and is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site

It's surprising the Chinese are building anything at all with the glut of space now on the market

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