19 Of The Biggest City Models In The World

From ancient Rome to ultra-modern New York these 19 models are some of the biggest (little) cities in the world.
Christopher McFadden
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There is something about scale models that fascinates children and adults of all ages. But these model cities take the practice of model making to the next level.

These 19 are some of the biggest scale models of cities in the world and are all impressive in their own way. The following are in no particular order and are far from exhaustive.


1. Toronto, Canada

Scale: 1 to 87

Year of completion: 2017

Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer spent two whole years of his life building a scale model of Canada's biggest city, Toronto. His inspiration for this epic task was to help educate tourists and natives about the sheer scale of the bustling metropolis.

The entire project cost the artist $2 Million of his own money and he also recruited Dave Maclean, a builder, to help with the task. The pair and their Miniature Land team plan to make more miniature Canadian cities in the future.


Biggest City Models Chicago
Source: architecture

2. Chicago, USA

Scale: 1 to 87

Year of completion: 2009

The Great Train Story is a scale model of part of the city of Chicago at the Museum of Science and Industry. A long loop winding through the model simulates the sights along a train journey on the Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle.

In actuality, the model is not strictly to scale as some of the buildings have been cut short and rearranged to fit the footprint of the model.


Biggest City Models Moscow
Source: englishrussia

3. Moscow, Russia

Scale: 1 to 25

Year of completion: 1977

This scale model of Moscow was built in 1977 by 300 workers for the 60th anniversary of the ill-fated Bolshevik Revolution. It captures, in fine detail, many features of the city as it was at the time.

This piece of communist propaganda was overseen by Russian artist Efim Deshalyt who wanted to show that Moscow was vastly superior to any other Western capital.


Biggest City Models Beijing
Source: Stuck in Custom/Flickr

4. Beijing, China

Scale: 1 to 750

Year of completion: 2004

In the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall in China, you will find this enormous model of the city's metropolitan area. It took more than a year and no less than 150 workers to complete the stunning model.


Biggest City Models Le Petit Paris
Source: Gérard Brion/Wikimedia Commons

5. Paris, France

Scale: 1 to 130

Year of completion: 2002

Built by Gerard Brion, this scale model of Paris is exquisite in its level of detail. The entire project would take around 18,000 hours to complete in total.

Called Le Petit Paris the model is located in his garden in Vaissac, South France. It was built completely out of recycled materials like concrete blocks, baby food jars, and soup tins.


Biggest City Models ancient Rome
Source: Busktick/Flickr

6. Ancient Rome, Italy

Scale: 1 to 240

Year of completion: 1950s

This stunning model of the city of Rome was commissioned by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1933. It faithfully recreates the city as it is thought to have looked during the rule of Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century AD.

Its creator, Italo Gismondi, spent 35 years creating the enormous plastic model. This model of ancient Rome is on display at the Museum of Roman Civilisation and is well worth a visit if you're in the area.


Biggest City Models Chongqing
Source: urbachina.hypotheses

7. Chongqing City, China

Scale: 1 to 750

Year of completion: 2005

This impressive 1 to 750 scale model of the city of Chongqing (Chungking) in southwestern China covers an area of 892 square meters. The model encompasses most of the city at the time is probably the largest of its kind in China.


8. New York, USA

Scale: 1 to 1200

Year of completion: 1964

This model of New York was originally built for the 1964 World's Fair. Called the Panorama of New York City it now resides at the Queen's Museum.

The model is made up of over 895,000 individual structures and needed more than 100 workers to complete. It was last updated in 1992 and cost, in today's money, around $672,660 to originally assemble


Biggest City Models Shanghai
Source: Ekrem Canli/Wikimedia Commons

9. Shanghai, China

Scale: 1 to 500

Year of completion: 2000

This impressive model of Shanghai was built as the centerpiece for the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center. The model is truly enormous covering an area of around 1585 meters squared.

It faithfully recreates the entirety of the city's urbanized areas and shows existing as well as approved future constructions. That is to say, those parts where support columns don't penetrate the model.

Visitors can view the model from its perimeter or from an overhead gallery.


Biggest City Models Minato ward
Source: mkcproperties.blogspot

10. Minato Ward, Tokyo, Japan

Scale: 1 to 1000

Year of completion: 2009

This unbelievably detailed model of the Minato Ward of Tokyo is located in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. It was built to show potential sites for Tokyo's 2012 Olympic bid.

Each building was photographed by helicopter and by car with the composite image used for the model. The entire process took over 14 months.

The model covers the area from Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, Azabu, Roppongi, Shinagawa and the man-made islands of Tsukishima and Kachidoki.


Biggest City Models Moscow 2
Source: makzer

11. Moscow (again), Russia

Scale: 1 to 500

Year of completion: 1986

Here's another enormous scale model of the Russian capital, Moscow. It represents the central parts of the city and is currently on display at the Dom Na Breskoy Center for Architecture and Construction.

It took more than 18 years to build between 1968 and 1986 and covers a breath-taking 472 meters squared.

Dom Na Breskoy has occasionally updated the model over time since 1992.


Biggest City Models Quebec
Source: Parks Canada

12. Quebec, Canada

Scale: 1 to 300

Year of completion: 1806

In 1806 two members of the Corps of Royal Military Surveyors Draftsmen built a scale model of Quebec City at the time. It was sent to England in 1810 to highlight the drastic need for an upgrade to the city's defensive infrastructure.

The model was later returned to the city in 1908 to celebrate the city's 300th anniversary. It is now on permanent display in the city's Artillery Park.


Biggest City Models Miniland
Source: Legoland Billund Resort/Wikimedia Commons

13. Miniland, Legoland Billund, Denmark

Scale: NA

Year of completion: 1968

Miniland is the main attraction in Denmark outside of Copenhagen. It is sited right next to the very first LEGO factory and is a miniature LEGO city.

It comes complete with various moving parts including bridges, boats and, of course, LEGO trains. Although it doesn't replicate a real city it is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

The entire installation consumed over 20 million LEGO bricks.


Biggest City Models Forbidden Gardens
Source: Vybr8/Wikimedia Commons

14. Forbidden Gardens, USA

Scale: 1 to 20, 1 to 25

Year of completion: 1996

Forbidden Gardens is an open-air museum that replicates some of China's major historical sites. It is located near Houston, Texas and has two major installations.

The first was a 1:20 model of the Forbidden City. The second shows the famous Terracotta Army, as well as the tomb of the first Emperor of Qin.

This model has every single one of the 6,000 soldiers and chariots from the original site but at 1/3 of the size. Sadly the museum closed in 2011 to make way for the Grand Parkway expansion.


15. Miniaturk, Turkey

Scale: 1 to 20

Year of completion: 2003

Miniaturk, whilst not the largest compared to others on the list, is worthy of mention. It Is the largest miniature park in the world and contains over 105 models of historical monuments around Turkey.

Miniaturk is located in Istanbul and contains reconstructions of two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World namely the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.


16. France Minature, France

Scale: 1 to 30

Year of completion: 1991

Since we've mentioned Miniaturk it would be remiss of us to not mention France Miniature. This is an outdoor park with 1 to 30 scale models of major French monuments and landmarks.

The entire display is set up in an approximate shape of France with the models located in their approximate real-world locations on the 'map'.

A lot of these models are also animated with some having moving railways, TGV's, ships and other vehicles.


Biggest City Models London 2
Source: wurlington-bros

17. London (again), United Kingdom

Scale: 1 to 1500

Year of completion: 2008

Built by the model makers Pipers of London, this 1 to 1500 scale model of Central London is quite beautiful. It is located in at the London's Building Centre which is an educational center for architectural and planning studies.

The entire model covers around 12 square meters and consumed over 5000 man hours to complete.


Biggest City Models Quito
Source: wurlington-bros

18. Colonial Quito, Ecuador

Scale: 1 to 200

Year of completion: 1999

In a small museum on the equatorial portion of the city of Quito is an impressive scale model of Quito as it appeared during the cities colonial period. It took artist Guido Falconi Palacios over 8 years to complete and was created referencing photos of existing buildings and sketches.

Roughly every 10 to 15 minutes the lights in the exhibit dim to simulate night and reveal a charming nighttime scene of the city.


Biggest City Models Sydney
Source: sydneycustomshouse

19. Sydney, Australia

Scale: 1 to 500

Year of completion: 2000

Depicting 10 square km of the downtown Sydney this model took three months to complete. It took 15 model makers to build it and weighs about a tonne.

The model is even updated annually, has over 5000 little trees and contains over 36 km of fiber-optic cable. It also nice to look at.

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