5 Architectural Landmarks and Their Identical Twins


A replica Tower Bridge at the Window of the World Theme Park, Shenzhen, China © Flickr user volvob12b. Licensed under CC0 1.0

A replica Tower Bridge at the Window of the World Theme Park, Shenzhen, China © Flickr user volvob12b. Licensed under CC0 1.0

Architectural landmarks can define a city. A mention of Paris conjures images of the Eiffel Tower, whilst no description of Sydney is complete without mentioning its inspiring Opera House. How disorientating it must be, therefore, to encounter a familiar architectural wonder far removed from the city, or country to which it belongs. As it happens, many of our most famous structures have identical twins you may not have been aware of.

Tower Bridge, London 


The original Tower Bridge in London © User: Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA-4.0

The original Tower Bridge in London © User: Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA-4.0

Tower Bridge's identical twin in Suzhou, China via CCTV

Tower Bridge's identical twin in Suzhou, China via CCTV

In March 2017, we reported on a copy of London’s famous Tower Bridge, which emerged in the Chinese city of Suzhou. Although completed in 2012, the replica of London’s Victorian landmark has recently been doubled, to accommodate a five-lane highway.

Big Ben, London


The original Big Ben in London © Flickr user htakashi. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The original Big Ben in London © Flickr user htakashi. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Big Ben's identical twin in Kolkata, India © Flickr user trekpedition. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Big Ben's identical twin in Kolkata, India © Flickr user trekpedition. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Located in Kolkata, India, this 1/3 scale replica of London’s iconic Big Ben clock tower was opened in October 2015. A result of the Bengal Chief Minister’s dream of making Kolkata as glorious as London, the 30m tall tower has attracted a wave of criticism from local residents who perceive the project as a waste of public money.

The Colosseum, Rome


The original Colosseum in Rome © Flickr user mattkieffer. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The original Colosseum in Rome © Flickr user mattkieffer. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Colosseum's identical twin in Macau, China © Flickr user 11020833@N02. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Colosseum's identical twin in Macau, China © Flickr user [email protected] Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

On New Year’s Eve 2006, the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf in China was opened to the public. Amongst its 18th century inspired hotels, boulevards, and casino, there exists a replica of Rome’s famous Colosseum. Equipped with 2,000 seats, the amphitheater serves as an outdoor concert venue, with a semi-ruined structure taking inspiration from its identical Roman twin.

The River Arno, Florence


The original Grand Canal in Florence © Flickr user bcreative. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The original Grand Canal in Florence © Flickr user bcreative. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Florentine Grand Canal's identical twin in China © Flickr user portablematthew. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Florentine Grand Canal's identical twin in China © Flickr user portablematthew. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The appropriately-named Florentina Village in China contains 200,000sqm of classical architecture inspired by the picturesque Italian city of Florence. Amongst the stone bridges, fountains, and plazas, a Grand Canal imitates the banks of the River Arno in Florence, complete with gondoliers for a Venetian touch.

Moai Statues, Easter Island 


The original Easter Island statues © Flickr user jzielcke. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The original Easter Island statues © Flickr user jzielcke. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Easter Island's identical twins in Beijing, China © Flickr user jedstr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Easter Island's identical twins in Beijing, China © Flickr user jedstr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

In a business district of Beijing, China, a row of Easter Island’s famous Moai statues line a pedestrian walkway. The replicas were erected in 2011, in contrast to the Easter Island originals, which date between 1250 and 1500AD. Fortunately, only 12 of the 887 ancient originals have been replicated.

Bonus – Window of the World Theme Park, China


A taste of Paris at the Window of the World Theme Park, Shenzhen, China © Flickr user jlcalgary. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A taste of Paris at the Window of the World Theme Park, Shenzhen, China © Flickr user jlcalgary. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A replica Taj Mahal at the Window of the World Theme Park, Shenzhen, China © Flickr user jlcalgary. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A replica Taj Mahal at the Window of the World Theme Park, Shenzhen, China © Flickr user jlcalgary. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As opposed to replicating one architectural masterpiece, the Window of the World theme park in Shenzhen, China has taken a step further. The 48Ha park contains 130 replicas of some of the most famous architectural landmarks in the world, including the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, and Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Twice as Nice? Suzhou’s Latest Architectural Homage Copies London’s “Tower Bridge”

It’s common knowledge that China has “at least 10 White Houses, four Arcs de Triomphe, a couple of Great Sphinxes and at least one Eiffel Tower,” report the New York Times . But now photographs of a copy of London’s famous Tower Bridge (a Victorian riparian gateway to the city) in the Chinese city of Suzhou have emerged – and it’s been adapted to suit a five-lane highway.

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