Top 10 Fascinating Replicas of Famous Landmarks
Millions of people travel thousands of miles around the world every year to witness renowned landmarks firsthand. But there are enough of copies there for people who don’t care about uniqueness. Some of them, like the replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty on the Las Vegas strip, are definitely gaudy, but some of them fascinatingly change the original. Here are ten of the more intriguing copies, which range from the garish to the elegant.
10 The White House in Iraq
Kurdish businessman Shihab Shihab chose to model his mansion after the “beauty and simplicity” of the White House in Washington, D.C., which has served as the residence of every American president since John Adams in 1800. Shihab paid $20 million for the replica, which is located in the once-Saddam Hussein-controlled northern Iraqi city of Erbil.Shihab did not follow the original’s design for the interior, even though he wanted the facade to resemble it. Naturally, the interior of the historic White House is magnificent, but Shihab went above and beyond by lining the grand staircase’s railing and ceiling with 21-karat gold. Moreover, the Iraqi version has a luxurious Turkish bath despite being smaller than the American counterpart, measuring 32,300 square feet (3,000 square meters) as opposed to 55,000 square feet (5,110 square meters). Furthermore, in a 2014 speech, Shihab said, “I get to keep my bedroom for the rest of my life while Obama has to vacate it when his term ends.”
9 In Portugal, Christ the Redeemer
With its arms spread and perched on a 26-foot (8-meter) pedestal, the 98-foot (30-meter) Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil provides a striking view of Rio de Janeiro. In 1934, after seeing the statue, the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon began the process of building a replica in Portugal. Due to World War II, the project gained additional significance, and the statue represents Portuguese gratitude for escaping the worst of the fighting.
The Portuguese counterpart, known as Cristo Rei (or Christ the King in English), was unveiled in 1959 and is situated atop a 246-foot (75-meter) pedestal at a height of 90 feet (28 meters). Though it faces Lisbon across the river, it is situated in Almada. An elevator takes visitors up to the pedestal where they may see sweeping vistas across Lisbon and a close-up glimpse of Christ.
8 The French Statue of Liberty
Though there are countless replicas of the Statue of Liberty, one of the most distinctive is located in the French castle of Vascoeuil. The statue in this French garden is holding up torches in both hands, as if supporting her favorite band or sports team, as opposed to holding a torch aloft in one hand and gripping a tablet in the other. Known by her official name, “La Victoire de la Liberté” or “The Victory of Liberty,” Salvador Dalí, the famous artist, created her in 1972. She is slightly taller than the average human and is much smaller than the copper statue in New York.The poet Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Ode to Salvador Dalí” is inscribed on a plaque in Dalí’s hometown of Cadaquès, where a copy of his version is also located. This rendition of Lady Liberty, adorned in regional flags and bearing the motto “Llibertat presos politics,” or “Freedom for political prisoners,” is also utilized as a symbol of Catalonia’s independence from Spain.
7 Big Ben in the Indian subcontinent
When they arrive at the intersection leading to Lake Town in Kolkata, India, drivers on VIP Road are in for a surprise. They will discover a massive clock that resembles Big Ben here. Built in 2015, the Kolkata Time Zone Tower is a replica of the famous London landmark. However, it is far smaller than the original, standing at roughly 30 feet (30 meters) versus 315 feet (96 meters) for Big Ben.The chairman of the South Dumdum Municipality, Mriganka Bhattacharya, claims that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s goal for Kolkata to compete with London served as the impetus for the clock tower. “Big Ben was an obvious choice,” he remarked, considering that they had to build a vertical tower on a short plot of ground.Nonetheless, there was some opposition to the decision. Professor of architecture at Jadavpur University Debashish Das stated that “it is obviously faulty to imitate a structure from a different city.” Every landmark in a city has a backstory and a cultural context; they are there for a reason.
6 Moai in Japan, or the Easter Island Heads
A series of forty moai, or Easter Island heads, greets visitors to Makomanai Takino Cemetery, which is close to Sapporo in northern Japan. The bodies of the moai are buried, however they are disproportionately small in comparison to their heads. These monolithic figures, which stand about 13 feet (4 meters) tall on average, were a source of great desire for the Rapa Nui inhabitants of Easter Island. The ones discovered in the Japanese graveyard are between 6.5 and 9.5 meters (21 and 31 feet) tall.Replicas of Moai are also visible in Sun Messe Nichinan, a park approximately one hour south of Miyazaki, on the southernmost point of Japan. Near the sea, seven striking moai towering around eighteen feet (five meters) in height. A rare insect collection, African tortoises, and the Earth Appreciation Bell are among the attractions for visitors in addition to the major attraction—the moai heads.
5 The Bangladeshi Taj Mahal
In under five years, Bangladeshi filmmaker Ahsanullah Moni completed the construction of a full-size copy of India’s Taj Mahal in his native country in 2003. Many Bangladeshis, according to Moni, “cannot afford to go to Agra to see the Taj, so I am bringing the Taj to them,” which is why he constructed the copy. Moni says he is “doing this only for the poor,” citing the over 40% of Bangladeshis who live in poverty as his motivation. They are unable to travel. They are unable to view this historical marvel. But he also says that he’s hoping that “more tourists from home and abroad can visit the landmark construction.”However, Moni’s Taj Mahal upset several people in India. A representative from the Indian High Commission voiced complaints, saying, “You can’t just go and copy historical monuments.” A representative for the High Commission, Deepak Mittal, said that the replica “is a form of flattery” and that it wasn’t likely to confuse tourists.
4 Australia’s Stonehenge
England is home to the magnificent remains of Stonehenge, whose stones were arranged so that they would align with the sun rising on summer solstices and setting on winter solstices. As an alternative, individuals on the opposite side of the globe can travel to Western Australia to see Esperance Stonehenge. Esperance Stonehenge was not constructed to resemble the weathered, ancient ruins that it is now; rather, it is a depiction of the stone’s initial appearance.Constructed on a farm, the model is composed of 137 stones that total 2,755 tons (2,500 tonnes) in weight, carved from granite found nearby. In addition to being brand-new, it is a full-size, astrologically aligned replica that is as exact as possible. In 2014, owners Kim and Jillian Beale listed the attraction for $5 million AU ($3.2 million US) with the intention of selling it as they were ready to retire. They first lowered the price to $2.1 million AU ($1.3 million US) in 2020 after selling off a portion of the nearby acreage. The property eventually sold in 2022.
3 The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in China
China is rife with imitations of the world’s most recognizable sites; in fact, there are parks specifically set aside for this reason. World Park in Beijing and Window of the World in Shenzhen are two examples of these parks. The reproductions of the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Eiffel Tower that are on display at the parks share a great deal of similarities.Both parks feature contentious reconstructions of the World Trade Center Towers. More than twenty years after the actual Twin Towers collapsed, they still stand in these parks with significantly scaled-down replicas of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. It’s unclear whether the parks’ decision to leave the scenes unchanged is a conscious homage.
2 Japan’s Eiffel Tower
While there are a few reproductions of the Eiffel Tower in Japan, the most striking one is in Minato, Tokyo. Tokyo Tower is slightly taller than its French model, which stands at 1,083 feet (330 meters), having been finished in 1958 and reaching a height of 1,091 feet (just shy of 333 meters). Tokyo Skytree, a broadcasting and observation tower that rises to an astounding 2,080 feet (634 meters) in the air, is the tallest building in Japan, making Tokyo Tower the second tallest structure overall.The main viewing deck of Tokyo Tower is accessible by elevator or a 600-step outdoor staircase, and it is located 492 feet (150 meters) above the ground. At 820 feet (250 meters), guests can reach the top deck using a separate set of elevators. The tower’s unusual orange and white paint job isn’t a design decision meant to set it apart from the Parisian replica; rather, it’s a requirement of aviation regulation, which states that structures taller than a specific height must have this color scheme. Tokyo Tower has even had its own mascot, the Noppon Brothers, who are twins with pink pointed heads and dungarees, as of its 40th anniversary.
1 Tutankhamun Tomb in Egypt
Naturally, the authentic tomb of Tutankhamun is located in Egypt; but, a minute’s drive away is an extraordinarily meticulous duplicate. The original tomb is still accessible to tourists, but every individual who enters contributes to the tomb’s deterioration by causing paint to flake and rock to wear down. To counter this, a painstakingly made replica opened close by in 2014.The artist, Adam Lowe, who runs Factum Arte, made the replica as a charitable endeavor. It cost $690,000 and took his crew five years to finish. They employed a 3D laser scanner, which has an accuracy of up to 100 million points per square meter, to measure the tomb. Then, using a router operated by a computer, the walls and sarcophagus were precisely sliced. Paint was applied using both human hands and a digital printer after the object was cut, molded, and cast.A few things have changed from the original: There is a Tut museum in the antechamber, however there isn’t a mummy of Tut because it is still in the original. In general, archaeologists are excited by technology’s ability to produce the most precise copies conceivable. The Long Island University Egyptologist Robert Brier stated that the facsimile of Tut “won’t harm anyone, and it’ll do good for Egypt and save the tomb.” It makes perfect sense.Travelers often want to see the actual item even though it’s obviously not a gaudy rip-off like some copies. In response, Lowe states, “This replica is an approach that can lead to a deeper understanding if what’s important is deepening understanding.” If viewing the original is required due to a bias of any kind, you must face your own prejudices.