Eiffel tower

Inside China’s ‘Weird’ Fake Landmarks Including the Eiffel Tower and Tower Bridge

How can you see the Sphinx, Tower Bridge and Sydney Opera House without needing to show your passport once?

This is not a riddle, there is actually a fairly simple answer. Across China, replicas of various iconic landmarks from around the world have sprung up over the years as cities seek to give residents the chance to experience life abroad without having to leave their home countries. .

In Suzhou, for example, a 131-foot-tall false tower bridge serves as a passageway over the city’s Yuanhe Pond, with architects even doubling the number of turrets, according to a leading Chinese newspaper. People’s Daily to call the structure even “more magnificent” than the original.

Suzhou Tower Bridge (Alamy)

Similar tourist attractions can be found in several other cities, including Lanzhou, where a local theme park has built a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and Chuzhou, where a life-size replica of the Sphinx towers over the city’s Great Wall. . Tourism cartoon creative park.

In Hangzhou, meanwhile, an entire “mini Paris” has been built around a half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower, with Parisian-style buildings and even a European plaza for residents of the gated community.

Ironically, locals looking to catch the site of the Eiffel Tower and Tower Bridge in one day actually have to travel less distance than they would between the originals, with just 160 miles separating Hangzhou and Suzhou compared to 300 miles between London and Paris.

That being said, the three and a half hour drive from Hangzhou’s Eiffel Tower to the miniature Arc de Triomphe found in Jiangyan isn’t quite the half hour walk taken by tourists looking to see the real thing.

A mini Parisian district in Hangzhou (Alamy)
A mini Parisian district in Hangzhou (Alamy)
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Elsewhere in Beijing, a replica of the Sydney Harbor Bridge leads visitors to a scaled-down replica of the Sydney Opera House, with China’s capital also home to a gleaming $3.5million collection of government office buildings inspired by none other than the Kremlin itself.

As kitsch as the replicas may seem, they have become beloved features of many of these Chinese cities. Yet in recent years the government has moved to discourage the practice of building replicas of foreign monuments, issuing a notice in April 2020 prohibiting “plagiarism, imitation and copying” of existing structures, according to the daily star.

Instead, officials are calling for a “new era” of architecture to “enhance cultural confidence, show the characteristics of the city, exhibit the contemporary spirit, and display Chinese characteristics.”