The town of Hallstatt in Austria is considered one of the most beautiful villages in the world. It’s so beautiful that the town is looked after by UNESCO. So a Chinese firm has decided that if they can’t fly it to China, they’ll build a replica (right down to the lake) in Huizhou Guangdong Province.
One of the planned shops will have Austrian souvenirs for homesick Europeans from Hong Kong. UNESCO isn’t sure if copying a town is legal – taking pictures is legal, but making copies without permission of the town may not be okay.
The 800 residents of the original town are not pleased that their town is being photocopied. “I don’t like the idea a team was here for years measuring, photographing and studying us,” said Monika Wenger, who owns an inn in the village. Alex Scheutz, the mayor of the village, says the “people are not very impressed,” but he says it will be good for tourism.
China’s copied European towns before, like “British Town” in Chengdu, modeled after Dorchester. There’s also a mini-Barcelona, a mini-Venice and a Scandanavian town homage.
By Robert O’Connor