China's 'Fake' Monuments—and the Places They've Copied

The economic boom in China in the 1990s led to "duplitecture" or copycat versions of everything from the Eiffel Tower and London Bridge to the canals of Venice and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
fake eiffel tower Tianducheng, China
China’s ‘Fake’ Monuments—and the Places They’ve Copied Getty

At first glance, the street might not seem so strange: Surrounded by familiar Tudor architecture, with cobblestone under foot, it all seems familiar.

But if you take a second look, you'll notice Chinese newlyweds posing for photos and the corner shop selling steamed buns, not fish and chips. Then there are the Chinese translations underlining the English signs.

This surreal tableau is Thames Town in Songjiang, China. Its architecture is designed to imitate a classic British market town. It's just one of many copycat towns in China, where an economic boom at the turn of the century led to knock-offs of everything from London Bridge and the Eiffel Tower to the U.S. Congress building and the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Below, check out some of this amazing "duplictecture" and the original buildings that inspired it.

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The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Getty Images