China's strange miniature recreations of international landmarks

Travelers heading to China can add the Sphinx and the Colosseum to their sight-seeing checklist. This may come as a surprise to many, but China's various tourism parks have brought many of the world's most popular landmarks to their country. Companies have funneled hundreds of millions each into the various parks for the miniature replicas in hopes to boost tourism.

The villages for each country are outfitted with canals, shops, architecture, and other experiences unique to the original location. If you visit the St. Peter's Basilica you'll find numerous 'people' milling about: 140,000 to be exact. Don't bother asking them to take your photo though, they're statues installed to recreate the atmosphere of the crowds in the real global tourist destination.

Originally the villages that mirror their origin city were created to entice people out of China's crowded cities to enjoy a foreign landscape in their own country. Certain 'destinations', like the development created to look like Jackson hole, have drawn a large amount of residents, but many of the other locations are having a different problem. Despite the gargantuan amount of money that went into constructing these Disney World-esque cities, the housing units remain vastly empty. During construction many of the homes were bought as investments, as real estate is a popular asset in China. Now several of the 'cities' are popular for wedding photos as the newlyweds can have international backdrops on usually crowd-less streets.

Replication has always been popular in Chinese culture. Recreating foreign structures can be dated back to the 3rd Century B.C. where Emperor Qin Shi Huang would construct his own version of palaces from cities he conquered.