10 of the Most Recognisable Tourist Attractions
'Tourist-destinations': Those sites that seem to possess an uncanny talent for luring in colossal numbers of eager travellers from all walks of life. Although the precise criteria for such a destination is, perhaps, unidentifiable, varying vastly from person to person, there are a large number of both natural and manmade sites that seem to consistently bestow a beacon of enjoyment upon their visitors. Whilst naming all of these sites and trying to pinpoint their value seems impossible, I have attempted to compile a brief list of what I consider to be 10 of the best known tourist hubs in the world. What do you find appealing about them?
Forming part of the dramatic divide between New York and Ontario, Niagara Falls are well recognised for their beauty and power. They may not have earned the title of the World's Largest Waterfall, but, conveniently located and spectacularly scenic, Niagara Falls continues to make a name for itself as a a much-loved tourist attraction.
Famously the setting of Victor Hugo's classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this Gothic cathedral, completed in 1345, still stands as tangible evidence of the grandeur of Medieval architecture. Located in the heart of the Paris and having withstood both natural and manmade threats to its existence, it seems to be a must-see for the huge number of tourists who flock annually to France.
The Great Wall of China
Remarkable for both its age and size, the Great Wall, started around the 6th century BCE as a military fortification and renovated throughout the ages, sprawls from Western to Eastern China, captivating tourists from all over the world. Constructed variously from brick, stone, packed earth, and wood, its survival throughout the ages truly provides evidence of an astonishing feat of engineering.
The Eiffel Tower
Returning to Paris, it would be impossible to forget this iconic steel structure, standing tall at 324 metres. Constructed in 1889 for the World's Fair, the tower continues to impress despite much initial displeasure regarding its location and design, and may only exist today due to its usefulness as a radio transmitter during the First World War.
Sydney Opera House
Perched on the edge of the harbour, this recognisable piece of architecture continues to impress as Australia's most recognisable landmark, drawing millions of tourists every year. Opened in 1973, it is now not only one of the most recognisable tourist attractions, but also one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world.
Located in the heart of Rome since its opening in 80CE, the Colosseum may no longer be the venue of violet gladiatorial battles, but its rich history and masterful architecture continue to impress regardless. Complete with four levels and underground tunnels, this massive amphitheatre is a true testament to the genius of Roman engineering.
Golden Gate Bridge
Completed in 1937 and now considered to be one of the Wonders of the Modern World, the Golden Gate Bridge links the city of San Francisco with Marin County, and is considered to be the most photographed bridge in the world. With a main span of 1280m, a record held until 1964, and with approximately 1.2 million steel rivets in place, it is truly an impressive piece of engineering, and is undoubtedly one of the most recognised tourist sites in the world.
The Acropolis of Athens and its famous Parthenon were commissioned by democratic leader, Pericles, in the 5th-century BCE, when he undertook campaigns to restore the area following the Persian ransacking of 480 BCE. With the help of Athenian sculptors and architects, including the famous Phidias, the building was completed towards the end of the 5th-century, serving as a lavish temple for the goddess Athena. The lack of any ninety degree angles within the Parthenon is also thought to be a mastery of engineering, solidifying the foundations and creating the optical illusion of perfect straight lines. With such historical significance and construction ingenuity, the Acropolis stands as firm evidence of the wealth and grandeur engendered by the Golden Age of Athens, and is unsurprisingly a top tourist destination for eager travellers stopping off in Greece.
The Statue of Liberty
Located on Liberty Island, New York, the statue was given as a gift to America from the people of France in 1886, serving, with its depiction of the Roman goddess Libertas, as an emblem of freedom. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the colossal sculpture, now a World Heritage site, continues to draw in huge numbers of tourists today.
Located in Wiltshire, England, this prehistoric structure of circular stones was perhaps commissioned as early as 3100 BCE, and continued to be developed and enhanced right up until about 1600 BCE. The lack of written records left by the builders greatly enhances the mystery of the site, perhaps contributing to its success on eager tourists' 'must-see' lists. Debated variously by scholars as a place of healing, burial, ancestral worship, and unification, the site is also involved in mythology and folk-lore surrounding King Arthur and the Devil, and is truly a testament to the phenomenal feats of engineering that were possible in an age predating modern machinery.