Can’t travel all the way to Hallstatt, Austria? Then why not just build a carbon copy of a whole town in your backyard?
Hallstatt, Austria is a picturesque village built around an idyllic lake. Home to 800 people, it’s so pretty that even UNESCO has designated it as a World Heritage Site. It’s also being replicated smack dab in the middle of Guangdong, China.
The firm is pulling out all of the stops too, down to creating their own lake. According to Austrian authorities, copying buildings based on photos is legal, but measuring buildings without permission isn’t kosher. One of the planned shops will even include Austrian souvenirs for “homesick Caucasians.” Kind of creepy, in an alternate-universe way.
Reactions in Hallstatt are somewhat mixed, with some excited about increasing tourism, with some just freaked out by the whole thing. One resident, Monika Wenger, mentioned that “I don’t like the idea a team was here for years measuring, photographing and studying us. I would have expected them to approach us directly – the whole thing reminds me of Big Brother.”
Strangely, it’s not really the first time China has copied a town: according to Shanghaiist, there’s also a “British Town” in Chengdu, China, which was modeled after Dorchester, England.
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