China's London Tower Bridge: 6 other copies of famous structures

A look-alike of London's Tower Bridge is seen in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China, Feb 25, 2017.
A look-alike of London's Tower Bridge is seen in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China, Feb 25, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Some Chinese cities believe that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but they also seek to improve on the originals.

Suzhou's copy of London's Tower Bridge has gained both love and hate since it was built in 2012, with two more towers than the original, and complete with elevators.

The replica by the "Venice of the East" is just one in a long line churned out by other Chinese cities which pride themselves in being able to construct copies of world-renowned buildings or structures.

Here are six others:

1. Dorchester, Chengdu


It all started when a Chengdu town planner received a Christmas card of Dorchester in its hey-days, or so the story goes.

Construction of the Chinese "British Town", originally situated in Dorset, England, began in 2005 in Chengdu, capital of south-west China's Sichuan province.

The Dorchester knock-off, with Georgian and Victorian high street, now houses some 200,000 Chinese citizens.

2. Thames Town, Shanghai


Songjiang, which is located some 30km outside of Shanghai, has constructed a replica of of Thames Town.

Costing £500 million to build, it was completed in 2006.

Like London's Tower Bridge, it is also a famous spot for wedding photography.

While wandering around its cobbled streets, faux Tudor buildings and red telephone boxes, try not to be creeped out by the fact that the place is virtually deserted.

If you get lonely, you will likely have only security guards dressed in British uniforms to keep you company.

3. Eiffel Tower, Hangzhou

If you are getting tired of Britain, try France instead.

Tianducheng, or Sky Capital City, in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, has a 108-metre-high fake Eiffel tower, surrounded by Parisian-style architecture and landscaping.

But like its other copycat cousins, the area suffers from a lack of buzz, many apartments are empty, even though it was built in 2007 to house more than 10,000 residents.

4. Hallstatt, Guangdong

In one of China's more ambitious replica projects, the Unesco World Heritage site of Hallstatt in Austria was erected in Guangdong's Huizhou in 2012.

The idea was conceived by a Chinese mining tycoon and cost S$1.3 billion.

Reproducing the Austrian village's church clock tower and European-style wooden houses, the development was meant to become a tourist hotspot, but has become another ghost town.

5. Jackson Hole, Beijing

Just about 1½ hours away from the Chinese capital, there is a Chinese version of the Wild Wild West.

Completed in 2006, the near-duplicate of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has security guards outfitted in cowboy garb, a church and even Route 66.

Many of the 1000-odd homes are owned by rich city-dwellers who want to get away from Beijing's hustle and bustle.

6. White House, in various parts of China

The copycat versions of the US Capitol building have been popping up in several locations in China.

Places boasting of White House include Wuxi and Fuyang, but Hangzhou's version tops the list with its extreme attention to detail.

Real estate tycoon Huang Qiaoling had built his own White House, complete with an Oval Office and portrait gallery of United States presidents.

There are also miniatures of the Washington Monument and Mount Rushmore.

Mr Huang's grand estate has attracted even then US President George W. Bush to visit in 2002.

SOURCES: ABC News, CBS News, Reuters, South China Morning Post, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Time