Massive crowds of tourists from China are flocking to the University of Sydney, but they seem to be under a huge misunderstanding.
The University of Sydney main campus is regarded as one of the most beautiful universities in the world.
Built with 19th sandstone and featuring a dramatic Great Tower, neo-gothic Quadrangle and perfectly manicured lawns, it occasionally winds up on the must-see lists of tourists who deeply appreciate those kinds of things.
But all of a sudden the university, about 4kms from Sydney's CBD, is seeing a massive surge in popularity among visitors from China, news.com.au reports.
Why? Because they think the Harry Potter movies were filmed there.
It's not totally unreasonable — the USyd buildings have been noted as having a bit of a Hogwarts vibe. But not a single scene in any of the popular films was actually shot in Australia.
Despite this, Chinese tourism websites are claiming the movies were filmed at the university, apparently in a bid to attract tourists, SBS News reports.
"Our tour guide told us this is where one of the scenes of Harry Potter was filmed," one tourist told SBS News.
Another tourist from China said: "This place filmed or I think it filmed Harry Potter, it's very famous and I've seen looks of my classmates who have come here to take photos that are so beautiful so that's why I really wanted to come here."
Nicholson Museum senior curator Dr Jamie Fraser told the broadcaster he's seen a huge spike in the number of tourists at the campus.
"There's been an astonishing increase in visitors throughout the university campus, in two years in February we've had more than a 4000 people increase since 2017 to 2019," he said. "One reason for that is the neo-Gothic architecture of our main quadrangle and people come to the front desk of our museum and ask us can you please show us where Harry Potter was filmed."
The University of Sydney isn't the first place that's seen a baffling surge in popularity from Chinese tourists.
In 2016, residents in a quiet, unremarkable English village called Kidlington, in Oxfordshire, started to notice huge crowds of Asian tourists arrive by the busload, walking down the streets and taking photos of their houses, lawns and even their garbage bins.
The bemused residents thought the tourists might have been under the incorrect impression the village had been a filming location, such as for the home of the Dursley family in the Harry Potter film series.
"Coach loads of Japanese tourists … seem to weekly be turning up in Benmead Road and proceed to pose for photos in peoples front gardens and against peoples cars parked in their drives?" one resident said in a neighbourhood Facebook page.
"I must say I do find it hilarious but I am at a loss to understand it all."
After weeks of mystery, it eventually emerged Chinese tour groups were adding Kidlington to their itineraries to give visitors from China a taste of the "true sense" of England.