Reuters

Developers unveil a tourist attraction that mimics a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Just one year after announcing ambitious plans to copy of a small idyllic Austrian mountain village, Chinese developers have unveiled their clone hamlet. Located just outside the southeastern city of Huizhou, the new village is a close approximation of Hallstatt, Vienna, complete with rows of pastel-colored chalets, architectural finials, and even an exact replica of the town clock tower that characterize the 900-year old original. Overseen and operated by Minmetals Land Inc., the $940 million project was recently completed, with Halstatt mayor Alexander Scheutz on hand to open the complex to tourists this past Saturday.

When news of the project spread last summer, Hallstatt residents expressed outrage at the idea of the Chinese fake, threatening to make an appeal to UNESCO to potentially halt the building. The town soon came around, however, after realizing the great promotional opportunity the Chinese development presented. When Scheutz opened the site over the weekend, he did so after signing a cultural exchange agreement with local authorities, expressing pride at the accomplishment and pledging mutual support for the endeavor.

As Reuters reports, the Chinese Hallstatt is comprised of expensive housing units for the city’s nouveau riche, with other shops and sites for tourists. The main square, modeled on the Austrian town’s marketplace, is strewn with photographs of the local replica landmarks, while staff constantly water and maintain the extensive gardens that line and surround the village. The scheme is working, claimed the Chinese developers and the visiting Austrian delegation. The number of visitors from China to Hallstatt was near negligent half a decade ago, but the project has seems to have set off a significant boost in Chinese tourists to the village, with thousands now flocking to the alpine retreat. We’ll see if the new Hallstatt enjoys the same success.

All photos by: Siu Chiu/Reuters

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  2. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  3. A photo of U.S. senators and 2020 Democratic Party hopefuls Cory Booker and Kamala Harris
    Equity

    Cory Booker and Kamala Harris Want a Monthly IRS Tax Credit for Rent

    The 2020 Democratic Party hopefuls are both planning bills that would create a tax credit for housing rental assistance every month. How would that work?

  4. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  5. North Carolina's legislature building.
    Life

    Should Government Agencies Move Out of Capital Cities?

    North Carolina may relocate its Division of Motor Vehicles from Raleigh to boost lagging Rocky Mount. Can this be a national model for decentralizing power?