These “Potemkin Villages” Expose a World of Architectural Fakery

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Sweden, Carson City. Image © Gregor Sailer Sweden, Carson City. Image © Gregor Sailer According to Russian legend, "Potemkin Villages"—entirely fake urban conurbations made to appear real—can be traced to it's namesake, Field Marshall Aleksandrovich Potemkin. In 1787, this soldier faced an unusual request: Catherine the Great demanded the construction of swathes of artificial settlements along her route to the Crimea in order to disguise, or veil, the run-down face of the region. In a new book, photographer Gregor Sailer documents versions of Potemkin Villages from around the world. From faithful replicas of European cities in China to vehicle test cities in Scandinavia, grand political gestures to combat training centers, Sailer’s images lend us access to "the world of fakes, copies, and stage sets."

China, Thames Town. Image © Gregor Sailer China, Thames Town. Image © Gregor Sailer
China, Thames Town. Image © Gregor Sailer China, Thames Town. Image © Gregor Sailer
Russia, Ufa & Suzdal. Image © Gregor Sailer Russia, Ufa & Suzdal. Image © Gregor Sailer
France, Beauséjour. Image © Gregor Sailer France, Beauséjour. Image © Gregor Sailer
France, Complexe de Tir en Zone Urbaine. Image © Gregor Sailer France, Complexe de Tir en Zone Urbaine. Image ©
France, Complexe de Tir en Zone Urbaine. Image © Gregor Sailer
Germany, Schnöggersburg. Image © Gregor Sailer
Germany, Schnöggersburg. Image © Gregor Sailer
USA, Junction City. Image © Gregor Sailer
USA, Junction City. Image © Gregor Sailer
USA, Tiefort City. Image © Gregor Sailer
Sailer
France, Complexe de Tir en Zone Urbaine. Image © Gregor Sailer France, Complexe de Tir en Zone Urbaine. Image © Gregor Sailer
Germany, Schnöggersburg. Image © Gregor Sailer Germany, Schnöggersburg. Image © Gregor Sailer
Germany, Schnöggersburg. Image © Gregor Sailer Germany, Schnöggersburg. Image © Gregor Sailer
USA, Junction City. Image © Gregor Sailer USA, Junction City. Image © Gregor Sailer
USA, Junction City. Image © Gregor Sailer USA, Junction City. Image © Gregor Sailer
USA, Tiefort City. Image © Gregor Sailer USA, Tiefort City. Image © Gregor Sailer
The Potemkin Village
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