This won’t be the first time that China has pinned its sights on a European village and set about building an exact replica of it in their own country. But their latest  effort to do so may be the most controversial yet. A small Austrian village set high in the Alps, Hallstatt has only 800 residents and is a UNESCO-protected world heritage site. Chinese architects recently joined 800,000 annual tourists to absorb the majestic scenery, and then proceeded to secretly draw up plans to clone the entire village, including the picturesque alpine lake! We have to say though, creating an exact replica of a town optimized for winter weather in the subtropical Guangdong province of China doesn’t sound very sustainable…

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Hallstatt’s mayor told Spiegel that the villagers are concerned that the Chinese will copy everything, including a historic holy house. Previously, China has copied Anting in Germany and Dorchester – right down to the last door and facade. Furthermore, the Chinese version of Hallstatt is slated to be built in the Guangdong province, which has a subtropical climate. We’re not sure if the architects behind the cloned village will be using passive strategies or other energy saving techniques but it seems like it would make more sense to erect this town somewhere where the weather is more similar to Hallstatt’s.

Regardless of the footprint of the project, Hans-Jörg Kaiser of Icomos Austria, the national board for monument preservation under UNESCO, intends to investigate whether or not the cloned village plans are indeed illegal. He told the paper that it is necessary to evaluate the legalities, but that building projects from photography is perfectly legal. However, he added, owners must give permission for their homes to be measured.

Via Spiegel Online

Images via llawliet and rakamblack