The Chinese imagine the Swiss as people who like watches, geraniums and bears and enjoy eating chocolate as well as travelling on steam trains. That's the caricature presented by the Bernese Oberland tourist destination of Interlaken.
And that destination has been re-created in a section of a Chinese theme park near the booming city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province, which lies just across a river from Hong Kong.
The "miniature Interlaken" was opened in 2007 and consists of several streets with stores, a train station and a replica of the Hotel Victoria Jungfrau. The houses are a mix of styles from the Tirol, Engadin and Schwarzwald regions, and watches or bears bearing the Chinese, Swiss or Bernese flags are ubiquitous.
Chinese tourists can have their pictures taken on the "Interlaken bridge," a copy of the famous Kappelbrücke in Lucerne. Bagpipers appear, along with a clown that performs to the tunes of Swiss pop star DJ Bobo.
The Interlaken replica is also good advertising for the real place in the Bernese Oberland and a good alternative to expensive trips abroad for the Chinese.
(Photos: Simon Tanner, Keystone)