Chinese Building Replica of Austrian Village
China sets eye on tourism potential of 400-year-old Hallstatt
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2011 3:12 PM CDT
Grounds are prepared by a lake located inside a construction site in Huizhou city, Guangdong province, China, Friday.   (Kin Cheung)
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(Newser) – It's a scenic jewel, a hamlet of hill-hugging chalets, elegant church spires, and ancient inns all reflected in the deep still waters of an Alpine lake in Austria. Hallstatt's beauty has earned it a listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but some villagers are less happy about a more recent distinction—plans to copy their hamlet in China. After taking photos and collecting other data on the village while mingling with the tourists, a Chinese firm has started to rebuild the hamlet in faraway Guandong.

"I don't like the idea of knowing that a team was present here for years measuring, and photographing and studying us," said one local hotel owner. "I would have expected them to approach us directly—the whole thing reminds of a bit of Big Brother is watching." But a souvenir shop owner has a different take: "We're happy they find it beautiful enough to copy."