Jostled up against the northern bank of the Sham Chun River, the dividing line between China and Hong Kong, lies the adolescent city of Shenzhen. Both the city and its average inhabitant, are under 30 years of age, and in these three short decades this city has packed in the type of socio-economic and cultural development that has taken most European cities over two centuries to achieve. Going from a small fishing village to a post-industrial city of 13 million inhabitants.

A city that, quite literally, contains all the wonders of the world (well, in replica form anyway).

Dominated by a 108m high replica of the Eiffel tower, which one can climb to gain a better view, the Window of the World Park contains over 130 replicas of famous world landmarks including; the White House, Buckingham Palace, Sydney Opera House, and so on, all built at the ratios of 1:1, 1:5 or 1:15 (apart from the Eiffel tower itself which works out at about 1:3) and can be found in the government organised special tourism and theme park zone in the Nanshan area on Shenzhen’s western edge.

With China fast becoming the largest exporter of tourists in the world there is an odd sense that the park is an attempt to stem the tide, why travel when you have everything worth seeing in one convenient place?

However, this is probably reading too deeply into what is simply meant to be an entertaining day out and, in fact, in a country renowned for its mass production and replicas (the Dafen suburb of Shenzhen is said to produce around 60% of the world’s oil paintings and the Dongmen suburb around 45% of the its watches) the idea of a theme park based on copies of famous landmarks seems entirely fitting. Ultimately, being able to start the day with a picture by the Niagara falls, then a stroll through Venice’s St Mark Square and on to the Taj Mahal is a slightly crazy and wonderfully enjoyable experience.

Photographs: Ester Keate
Words: Fredrik Keate