Chinese company to clone entire Austrian town

Chinese company to clone entire Austrian town

In Guangdong Province, industrial giant Minmetals is building a replica the historic Austrian village of Hallstatt
Hallstatt -- main
The real Hallstatt in Austria. Chinese industrial giant Minmetals will replicate this version of the European dream. Photo by Flickr user Wolfgang Wildner.

In recent years, Shanghai has seen the construction of a number of European-style compounds, such as English town, Dutch town, German town and Italian town.

None of these, however, have been a straight replica of an actual foreign town.

Now, the Chinese industrial concern and Fortune 500 company Minmetals is taking the Euro fascination a step further by reconstructing the entire town of Hallstatt, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Austria.

Named "Hallstatt See," the Chinese replica village will be situated in Boluo county in Huizhou in Guangdong Province. The area shares similar geographic features with Hallstatt.

Construction began two months ago and is set to be completed in 2017.

"The Chinese will replicate absolutely everything, not only the buildings," reports Gizmodo. "Every detail, statue and doorknob will be replicated." 

Hallstatt See will cost RMB 6 billion to build. It is expected to become a major tourist attraction and real estate hot spot in the Pearl River Delta region.

While the Chinese Hallstatt has generated mixed opinion among Western media, Hallstatt's mayor, Alexander Scheutz, takes China's cloning as "a compliment to our village."

The project's promotional materials suggest that Hallstatt's "royal" pedigree has drawn the eyes of the investor.

"There are a thousand good compounds in a thousand people's hearts, but not every one of them is first rate," the promotional materials translate. "But Hallstatt [See] is an exception as she was born with blue blood... [and] an unparalleled demeanor."

The first phase of the Hallstatt clone in China is set to be completed by the end of this year, though no details about what will be included in that phase have been released.

Tracy You is a bilingual journalist based in Shanghai and has worked for several publications including as Editor for CNN Travel. She's a fan of history, British TV and Wii Guitar Hero.

Read more about Tracy You