Gallery: World’s First Cloned Village in China is Now Open to Visitors


China has pulled off a feat that no other country would even dream of achieving: a cloned village. Every detail of the original Hallstatt village, a UNESCO protected heritage gem in Austria, has been copied in a replica situated one hour outside of Huizhou in Guangdong Province. China Minmetals Corporation announced their $940 million plan to re-create the secluded hamlet in June, 2011, and now, just one year later, the place is open to visitors.

When we first learned of the project last year, Hallstatt’s mayor Alexander Scheutz expressed concern that the Chinese would copy everything – even a holy house. He has since changed his stance, perhaps because Chinese tourists are now flocking to the village in the thousands compared to just 50 visitors in 2005. Formerly accessible only by boat and treacherous alpine trails, the first road to the village was only built in 1890, but now Hallstatt, Austria and China are known to the world.

Although the Chinese are enjoying the spectacle (one Huizhou resident told Reuters that the village feels like Europe), not everyone agrees that cloning villages is appropriate. “I dont think that it is a good idea,” Hallstatt resident Karin Höll told Reuters. “Hallstatt is just unique with its culture and traditions. You cannot copy that. I saw a report and the photos, and the copy seems different. In my opinion it is unacceptable.”

Via Reuters

Image credits: Hallstatt by Daniel Loretto, Shutterstock; Hallstatt by Boris Stroujko, Shutterstock; Hallstatt by littlewormy, Shutterstock and Hallstatt, China via the BBC


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  1. Musliha Janssen September 5, 2014 at 4:36 am

    This is not their only attempt to replicate an existing city. In both cases, it’s creepy and tacky. It would’ve been so much better if they had instead built ancient historical Chinese villages which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. At least that would be a lot more interesting to visit and see.

  2. Ulli Maier December 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    looks witzig………

  3. austriangirl August 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

    it doesn’t look similar at all, well, it’s a funny copy, but it lacks the environment, the air, the fresh cold water and the spirit. and it’s a sad that they build it just for rich chinese people who can afford the sum to live there.

  4. Holly Quest August 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Perhaps it is also a good idea to copy some the Amazon! The world will be much greener then!!!

  5. annbq August 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

    What makes this different that Munich after the war? They built it
    back exactly as it was…as if nothing happened. Creepy indeed.

  6. nonorific June 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Gee without the Alps, and actual Alpine environment (rees and plants, etc.) this village looks like…shiny plastic BS..lo siento mucho! But if you’d like to visit Italy and can’t you can go to Las Vegas!

  7. visitor0312 June 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

    The fact that it’s made by China makes all the difference, you never know what these folks are up to next :O :O

  8. Olivier June 11, 2012 at 2:20 am

    It is a very common practice in Asia to Copy monuments of interest. Local tourists can visit the copy when they cannot afford (or have no time to) visit the original. In Thailand (a country largely dominated by Chineese culture), there is a place where the famest monuments of their own country are reproducted in miniature. The place follows the map of the country. The faked monuments are placed at their right place on the map. With the help of a rental bycicle, visitors can bike throughout the entire country in a day, visit all the monuments, and enjoy the typical food of each province as soon as they have bike at this province. When I was posted in Bangkok, I even used this facility to have my European friends having a taste of Thailand architecture. Not to say that the place is packed up with Thaï people having a break there during weekends.

    Because we lack such concepts in the West, it difficult for us to understand how natural, simple, innocent, and stragthforward it is for the Chineese to mimic other countries’ wonders, after having mimicking all of their own.

  9. editorbrent June 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic! Soon China can copy all of the international cities – or at least their hotspots – to promote tourism! No longer will people have to save up their whole lives to see the 7 wonders, they can be recreated in a year or so to fulfill any situation, cheap! The more North America purchases from China, the more our Chinese friends put it to good use and invest in their diverse landscape. 10,000 years of culture may indeed equal World domination. It just took an artistic mind to see that.

  10. qtnblack221 June 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    It will never be the real deal, it just looks like it! And agreed with the comment about take it as flattery. What is everyone so afraid of who’s opposed to it? I think it’s cool and I would never have known much about even the original village in Austria had they not done this…

  11. admeco June 7, 2012 at 1:02 am

    It is interesting perhaps!However is it not copyright and also a way of cashing in on tourist dollars while at the same time
    reducing potential Asian tourism to Europe and Asutria!
    With doays technology and with finance what is the big deal to
    simply copy! Appears the Communist China is keen to manipulate the World and also have the West pay for it all!

  12. pepperh June 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Exactly how is this different from Williamsburg or replicating a Japanese garden someplace in Europe? Or even preserving endangered species of animals in captivity? Then there’s the element of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.

  13. anothervoice June 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I’m with Frau Höll. It’s a little creepy.

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