Monday, June 25, 2012

A slice of Europe - Made in China

The Chinese have done it again! Attempted something that had never been tried before, that is. They've built themselves their own slice of Europe! 
Hallstatt, Austria

China has cloned the original Austrian village, Hallstatt, a UNESCO protected heritage site. Every last detail of the village has been copied in this replica dubbed Hallstatt See by the China Minmetals Corporation, located in the Guangdong province. The $940 million dollars project was announced by the Corporation in June, 2011 and now, in just about a year, the village is open to visitors. With an acreage of about a million square meters the village is intended to attract home buyers as well as visitors. 
Hallstatt See, China

However, this little slice of Europe in Asia in garnering some mixed responses from people. While the Chinese seem to be enjoying the place a lot, there are others who believe cloning a whole village isn't quite right. Especially since you can't emulate what really makes it unique in the first place. When the project was first announced, Hallstatt's mayor had expressed concerns over this venture of the Chinese too, afraid they'd copy everything including the village's place of worship. In fact, angry Austrians had announced that they'd consider legal action and would consult with the UNESCO about it. 

However, Hallstatt's mayor seems to have, since then changed his views. In fact, he flew in to mark the official opening of the clone and signed documents promising more cultural thoroughfare between the two Hallstatts since they realised the value of the the publicity it's afforded themAccessible only by boat or after trekking through tough Alpine trails, Hallstatt, Austria now sees a lot more visitors than it did earlier thanks to its Chinese counterpart. In fact, as proof of complete acceptance, the original Hallstatt's website now reads: 'The original Hallstatt. Photgraphed a million times. Copied once.' How's that for a sea change!



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