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Hebei Province is home to China’s newest castle, and it’s been the subject of debate online. It’s set to house a new university—and it looks very familiar! Harry Potter fans may see a resemblance to Hogwarts Castle; some are even saying that it’s a ripoff of the fictional castle’s design.

This castle-like campus will be home to the Hebei Art Academy once completed. That’s not too surprising—there are a lot of young romantics who would jump at the opportunity to study beauty surrounded by such novel architecture.

Hebei Province wraps around Beijing and Tianjin. It is known for producing crops like cereal grains and cotton today, but was also historically significant: it is said to be where the Manchu crossed the Great Wall to take control of China and was known for the Qing emperor’s summer resort. Located so close to the capitol, you can imagine it would attract a lot of students from the city.

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▼ Whether real or reproductions, there’s a lot to appreciate in windows this ornate.

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▼ The stairwells are lined in stone tiles with wrought iron balustrades.

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▼ They’re even putting in old-fashioned windows.

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▼ You can tell it’s not Hogwarts—electricity doesn’t work there!

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▼ The profusion of spires are reminiscent of Hogwarts, but then you notice the clunky clock tower.

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▼ Parts of the interior start to look like the inside of an office building. Is that a drop ceiling?

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▼ While it’s still under construction, it’s hard to see how it’ll come together.

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▼ Oh, look! The Forbidden Forest! That must be the Forbidden City beyond.

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The architect denies that it’s a copy of Hogwarts. “I designed it based on medieval European castles,” he says. It’s reasonable that there would be some similarities, as parts of the movies were filmed at Alnwick Castle.

Compare Hebei Art Academy to the Hogwarts depicted in the movies. Are they similar enough that it counts as intellectual theft, or is the similarity incidental?

▼ The movies were filmed in several different locations; this model shows the castle as it appeared on film.

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Universal Studios Japan is preparing to open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter this summer. It will include a castle of its own as well as a Harry Potter themed village.

▼ This is the castle at Universal Studios Orlando. 

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Some commenters have certainly made up their minds about it. Here are some comments from English-speaking readers:

China = copy, copy, copy. They’ve forgotten how to think and be original.

China does tacky the best.

Chinese architecture is far more beautiful than this!

Crikey what an ugly mess. That clock tower looks seriously unsafe!

The Chinese comments were a bit different:

Wow! How lovely!

How nice! It’s like a heaven for students.

It looks just like the filming location.

I thought it looked like Cinderella’s castle…

For more views of the campus, check out the video below.

You can compare it to Universal Studio Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

So, what do you think? Is this  just a copy to get attention and make money, or is it an homage to medieval European architecture? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Images: Weiba, Baidu (1, 2), Wikipedia (1, 2)
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