When you go to Paris, you certainly expect to see the Eiffel Tower—and that’s just as true in Paris, Texas as it is in Paris, France. Built in 1993, this scale model of the Eiffel Tower is just 1/10 the size of the real deal, but it still makes an impressive sight. Like the original, it, too, puts on light shows for special occasions. Unlike the original, however, it comes crowned with an enormous red cowboy hat. (They do say everything is bigger in Texas.)
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you’ve got a soft spot for replica landmarks, don’t hesitate to visit the Las Vegas Strip—Sin City’s many themed casinos are populated with goofy doppelgängers, from the Giza Pyramid at the Luxor to the Empire State Building at New York-New York. But some of the very best replicas can be found at Caesars Palace, from Venetian canals to Michelangelo’s David. The Trevi Fountain is particularly well-rendered—and you can even throw a coin in over your shoulder for good luck.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Once you’ve explored Chicago on foot, it’s worth venturing to Niles, Illinois, which has a surprise waiting. The suburb, located northwest of the city, is unlike northern Italy in nearly every way—except for its striking recreation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, that is. The half-size replica, built by industrialist Robert Ilg in 1934, stands at an impressive (and tilted) 94 feet (29 meters) high. It also contains five bronze bells that are hundreds of years old, and are thought to hail from Italy.
Pont Alexandre III
China is home to dozens, if not hundreds, of replicas of international landmarks—and Suzhou might be ground zero for the phenomenon, termed “duplitecture.” Paris’ original Pont Alexandre III connects the Champs-Élysées area with the Eiffel Tower, and is known for its gilded ornamentation. Suzhou’s version is made of concrete, but still has a fine attention to detail—and is flanked by additional replicas, including one of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
St. Peter's Basilica
Japan’s Tobu World Square is a theme park that elevates the replica from imitation to art form. Its 1:25 recreation of the Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica is a highlight, and also includes exceptionally rendered versions of St. Peter’s Square, its colonnades, and the Vatican Obelisk. It is accompanied by the park’s hundreds of other famous doubles, including Buckingham Palace, the White House, Tower Bridge, and the Great Sphinx of Giza.
The Statue of Liberty
There are hundreds of replicas of the Statue of Liberty all around the world (including four in Paris alone). However, the one in Birmingham, Alabama—which dates to 1958, and stands at 36 feet (11 meters) high, or 1/5 the size of the original—is among the largest and most notable. Originally commissioned by the Liberty National Life Insurance Company, the statue crowned the company’s Birmingham headquarters until it was relocated to Liberty Park in 1989.
After visiting Agra’s world-renowned Taj Mahal in 1980, Bangladeshi filmmaker Ahsanullah Moni was inspired to build a recreation of the mausoleum on the edge of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, so its residents could see the landmark for themselves without needing to travel. Opened in 2009, the full-size replica is not an exact copy, but it’s still an impressive feat—and was made with imported marble, granite, bronze, and diamonds.
Christ the Redeemer
Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) is arguably Brazil’s most iconic landmark. The art deco statue, which was completed in 1931, stands 98 feet (30 meters) tall, poised high above the city’s harbor. It made such a strong impression on the visiting Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, that when he returned to Portugal, he knew he wanted to create a duplicate version. Christ the King (Cristo Rei) is the result—revealed in 1958, it stands on a soaring plinth in Almada, just across the water from central Lisbon, and can be viewed on city walking tours and boat trips.
Not long before the original Big Ben in London was covered in scaffolding to begin its lengthy restoration process, a second version of the iconic clock tower went up in Kolkata in 2015. The work of local artist Sunil Chandra Pal, the 135-foot (41-meter) landmark is, from a distance, an uncanny copy of the original, including its four clock faces and its fine, filigree detailing—it’s even illuminated after dark. Its location on the edge of the West Bengal capital is a little less expected, however.