China's European Cities
Posted on 05/12/2017 Modified on 06/12/2017


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As anyone with who has studied China will know the Middle Kingdom has a long and rich history. Frequented with tales of peasant rebellions, pioneering art and architecture, and endless wars, China has a great heritage. So it comes as something of a surprise to see that its people have become enamored with European architecture. In fact, all over China, entire European-style towns have inexplicably been springing up. We have compiled a list of some of the most famous of these imported cities.


© Sergey Borisov/123RF

The German architects of this town in Anting, just outside of Shanghai, decided that instead of building a quaint traditional Gothic village, they would take the practical route, and build a modern German town amongst China's streets. However, to date only 1 in 5 of the city's total 50,000 places are said to have found residents.

Florentia Village

Situated near the port city of Tianjin, this is in fact an outlet mall that is designed to resemble an Italian village. Its Italian designers have added a whole collection of fountains, canals, and mosaics, and local shops such as Gucchi and Prada. The Chinese are also lucky enough to have two more Florentias, in both Shanghai and Hong Kong!


Stray a few hours outside of Shanghai, and you'll find Tianducheng, a copy of Paris complete with replica Eiffel Tower at its core. The town enjoys tree-lined plazas, Parisian coffee shops and storefronts, as well as a 1:3 scale of the Eiffel Tower. Despite the fact that it is surrounded by a residential area ready to accommodate 10,000 people, the city is almost completely empty.


In the center of Guandong province lies a replica Hallstatt, the historic Austrian Alpine village. Designers spent a grand total of $940 million copying the entirety of the delightful UNESCO World Heritage site.

Overseas Chinese Town East

Just adjacent to Hong Kong, this theme park includes a man-made lake, and a whole district modelled after Switzerland's Interlaken. Inside the park stands no less than a 5-star resort with a spa, golf course, and steam train, plus an imitation Kappelbrücke, which is a famous covered bridge in Lucerne.

Tonghui Town International Bar Street

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This area was also modelled after Interlaken, housing dozens of bars and restaurants to become a trendy spot for professionals looking to unwind after work. Somehow, it didn't catch on, and is now deserted.

Thames Town

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This town is located in the Sonjiang district near Shanghai, but you wouldn't believe it. It's modelled after a typical English town, with some of its houses forming direct replicas of specific buildings in the UK. The town is part of the '1 city - 9 towns initiative', which was intended to tempt people out of overcrowded Shanghai, and into a European idyll. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have worked.

Holland Town

Otherwise known as Pudong's Nederland, this town is a living Dutch stereotype, sporting canals and windmills from Amsterdam and the Kattenbroek neighbourhood of Amersfoort. Again, some of the windmills are direct copies of those found in the Netherlands.

Breeza Citta Di Pujiang

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This town was built in imitation of a modern-day Italian city. Unfortunately, the result was more of a very artificial town largely populated with blocky apartment buildings, sparsely punctuated with a small number of canals and green spaces.


© Oleksiy Mark/123RF

'The 1 city, 9 towns' project also includes a Swedish knock off. Made to resemble the Swedish town of Sigtuna, the town includes a replica of Lake Malaren and the Icelandic Houses of Parliament. Again, it is deserted today.