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This year, we’ve learned that the provincial and local governments in China are spending their money on truly extravagant things. Two different areas in China have invested in special “towns” trying to elevate their cities with modernization and attract a number of wealthy people. While those towns are batting .500 on the success rate, with one of them already becoming a burgeoning ghost town, what other ideas do the governments have to bring the cash into their cities?

How about a recreation of the most romantic city in the world, Venice, canals and all?

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The waterfront city of Dalian, China has just revealed its latest tourist investment, four kilometers (2.5 miles) of canals with European buildings that look like they have been transported straight from Venice. The mini-Venice was created using man-made canals and buildings inspired by the original city in Italy. Some of the more popular buildings in Venice were actually copied for this recreation. For a fee you can travel down the waterways with Chinese gondoliers dressed in traditional Venetian clothes. What could be more alluring?

Oh right…the real city of Venice…

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Venice is one of the most popular destinations in the world with estimates of around 50,000 visitors a day. It has a rich history and continues to draw tourists to what many claim is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Is it any surprise that China decided to copy Venice when making its newest “attraction”? Also, because of the rising congestion of vehicles and pollution in the area, the developers thought a city that functioned mostly by boat and on foot was a great example to replicate.

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This Venetian copy came with a price tag of about 5 billion RMB (US $817 million) and from comments on the internet; many Chinese think it’s pretty fantastic. Although it’s puzzling that China, with its own rich history, didn’t try and build something based upon Chinese designs. Still a Venice in China for Chinese people who never want to leave home is pretty ingenious. Perhaps the city of Dalian will follow worldwide naming trends and call the four kilometer stretch “Venice Town”.

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Source: Toychan, The Guardian, Wikipedia
Images: Money 163, Flickr (– Abhimanyu)