There are few destinations in the world considered worthy of a full-sized replica being built in another country, but the Austrian village of Hallstatt is one of them. Last year, a full-scale copy of this charming Alpine village was unveiled in the Guangdong province of China. Hallstatt residents – of which there are less than 1,000 (not counting the 800,000 or so tourists who visit the small town each year) – were not sure what to make of the Chinese ‘version’ of their town, which reportedly sprung up without their prior knowledge.
It is seen by some as an invasion of privacy while others welcome the additional publicity it has brought their home town, which thrives on tourism. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hallstatt has long been famous for its salt production, which continues to this day. Nestled on the edge of the Hallstätter See lake and surrounded by mountains, there is something magical and frankly idyllic about this place. It’s not hard to understand the desire to capture or recreate its beauty; it really is one of those places with a charm that visitors wish could be bottled and taken away.
William Forshaw is Managing Director at Maxwell Scott.