Photo Gallery China Copies Austrian Village

An idyllic Austrian village has apparently impressed Chinese architects so much that they decided to copy it in their own country. But perhaps they should have told the townspeople living in the UNESCO World Heritage Site first. They are not amused.
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The 800-resident town of Hallstatt lies directly next to an idyllic lake. It was honored as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Apparently they aren't the only ones who like the pretty Alpine village.

Foto: Barbara Gindl/ picture alliance / dpa
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Hallstatt apparently pleased Chinese architects so much that they've decided to create an exact copy of the town in their country.

Foto: STMG
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But residents are miffed that they weren't directly informed of the plans. This image is of the original in Austria.

Foto: STMG /Christian Parzer
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Copying European architecture is popular in China. Here a couple poses in Thames Town near Shanghai. Modelled after a typical English village, it's a popular destination, particularly for wedding photos.

Foto: Daniel Berehulak/ Getty Images
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But when Thames Town was completed in 2006 not everyone was happy about it.

Foto: Daniel Berehulak/ Getty Images
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One English woman complained that her fish and chips restaurant had been copied in exact detail.

Foto: Daniel Berehulak/ Getty Images
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Thames Town looks remarkably authentic.

Foto: China Photos/ Getty Images
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Here newlyweds pose in Thames Town in 2010.

Foto: Daniel Berehulak/ Getty Images
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Hallstatt residents have shown little understanding for the plans in China. "The people are not very amused that this has happened behind their backs," the mayor said.

Foto: STMG / Christian Parzer
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The Chinese version of the town in the Austrian Salzkammergut region will even have a lake.

Foto: STMG /Christian Parzer
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While some are offended, others in the popular tourist destination see the Chinese project as a PR opportunity to generate more visits.

Foto: TVB MondSeeLand/Weinhäupl
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But creating an exact duplicate of a city may not be legal, according to Hans-Jörg Kaiser from Icomos Austria, the national board for monument preservation under UNESCO. "The legal situation still needs to be examined," he said.

Foto: Dachstein Salzkammergut
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