A REPLICA English village complete with cobbled streets, red phone boxes and a Costa Coffee shop has been built in China.
Thames Town, as it’s known, has everything you would expect in a quaint English town including a church, pub and even ivy growing up the mock Tudor buildings.
Although it was first expected to be inhabited by Brit-loving locals, the town has become a magnet for tourists and couples for photoshoots – to look as if they have flown to the UK.
Thames Town is in Songjiang district is just 19 miles away from central Shanghai.
Brit Photographer Paul Reiffer, 39, who visited the bizarre town, said despite the village’s authentic look there is a catch.
“The place is really interesting and very well made, except none of it is actually working,” he said.
“The pubs don’t open, and the church does not have a Sunday service.
“We went to a pub in the town to get some lunch and quickly realised there was nobody working there, and the buildings were just props, then we noticed that all of the working shops were for weddings.”
Paul said Thames Town, which was built in the early 2000s, looks identical in Weymouth, Dorset, where he lives in England.
“If you were blindfolded and dropped here, you would have no idea you were in Shanghai,” he said.
“The place is exactly like an English town – it’s designed very well – but it puts you in a weird headspace.”
“The weird part is that when you go there people all around are having photoshoots and everyone is dressed up for a wedding.
“Essentially, when the town opened, Asian couples started coming here to get pre-wedding photographs which made it look like they head gone to England to get married.
“There can be up to 30 photoshoots happening at a time.
“Now the place is a ghost town, there isn’t a community living here other than the shop owners and people coming for photographs.
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“Being in Asia and walking around here is like watching the Truman show, the same thing happens here every day from morning to night over and over again.”
The Chinese city of Suzhou has a replica of Tower Bridge, though it has four turrets rather than the original one’s two and also has a four lane dual carriageway running across it.
Elsewhere in China you can see replicas of Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, Austrian villages and the Titanic.
Thames Town is located 19 miles from the city of Shanghai[/caption]
The buildings have not purpose other than to act as props[/caption]
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