Often marked by the dubious distinction of ‘duplitecture’, there are a host of famous monument replicas from around the world. And, quite incredibly, a few of them do project at least some degree of the original architectural specimens’ finesse and even gravitas. So, without further ado, let us take a gander at 10 of the greatest copycat monuments that stand out by virtue of their imitative quality, while also flaunting their designers’ eccentric ambition in attracting tourists.
1) Christ the King in Lisbon, Portugal –
Also known as Cristo Rei in Portuguese, the Christ the King is a 82 m (270 ft) tall Catholic monument that was originally envisaged in 1940, as a plea to God that would preserve Portugal from the destruction brought on by the advent of World War II. Inspired by the more-famous Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro, the builders seemed to have gone through a phase of ingratitude, since Portugal remained relatively unscathed in the ensuing war, and yet the cornerstone for the construction was only laid in 1949. The main construction process started even later in 1952, while the statue was officially unveiled on 17th May, 1959.
2) Tokyo Tower in Tokyo, Japan –
Directly inspired by the latticed structure of the renowned Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower was completed way back in 1958, and is still the second-tallest structure in Japan with an impressive height of 333 m (1,093 ft). More importantly, the specimen in question is a functional communications and observation tower that was originally envisioned as the world’s tallest man-made structure in the 50’s – that would have even eclipsed Empire State Building. Unfortunately, there was no adequate funding available to take the project to such a tremendous height (pun intended). But, in spite of the set backs, the Tokyo Tower boasts of an advanced engineering scope which is touted to mitigate both earthquakes and high wind speeds from typhoons.
3) Foamhenge in Natural Bridge, USA –
An imposing work of artist Mark Cline (from Enchanted Castle Studio), the Foamhenge, built entirely out of non-biodegradable styrofoam blocks, was completed in 2004. And, while some of us might dismiss it as a cheap imitation of the Stonehenge, the precisely-contrived design was claimed to be achieved with the aid of various astronomical calculations and parameters. And what’s more – the entire setup is a full-size replica of the original 5000-year old mystery monument, flaunting its 30 ft average height complemented by the expansive layout.
4) White House-Capitol Hill mash-up in Fuyang City, China –
While the architectural work screams decadency, the entire $4.3 million project was funded from the coffers of the Communist Party of China. Interestingly enough, a Chinese official named Zhang Zhi’an (then Party secretary of Yingquan district of Fuyang) was primarily responsible for the grandiose imitation, and was even called the ‘White House director’ by various local news outlets. Unsurprisingly, later on, he was caught on a high-level corruption scandal, which included charges of bribery, selling of government posts, and even death of his subordinate. This ultimately translated to a death sentence for Zhang in 2010; though we are still not sure if the sentence was carried out in the last phase.
5) Harmony Clock Tower in Ganzhou, China –
While till now, we have been talking about the limitations of imitation, the Harmony Clock Tower eclipses its presumable-inspiration Big Ben in every manner possible. Designed as the world’s largest mechanical clock, the clock itself boasts of 13 m (43 ft) of diameter, and contains the minute hand that is 7.8 m (26 ft) long. Interestingly, the ‘clockwork’ project was undertaken by the English family firm Smith of Derby, who brought forth their expertise in contriving a modernistic timepiece. To that end, the hands were constructed from lightweight carbon fiber composite materials (as opposed to unwieldy steel), while the clock mechanism features a GPS technology that allows the time to correct itself every 30 seconds!