Famous Landmarks That Have Changed Over Time
Landmark structures that were built to stand the test of time were usually meticulously preserved over the years, allowing them to appear close to the same as they did when they were constructed. These buildings, monuments and other valuable cultural assets are found all over the world and attract millions of visitors each year.
However, many famous landmarks no longer look the same, either due to a lack of maintenance, natural disasters or human intervention. These famous landmarks have changed significantly, sometimes making them difficult to recognize.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge is a famous landmark and a spectacle of engineering. Spanning 1.7 miles across the Golden Gate strait that connects San Francisco with Marin County, the bridge supports more than 112,000 vehicles per day.
Times Square, New York City
In the city that never sleeps, Times Square is a bustling collection of Broadway theaters, cinemas, prominent restaurants and electronic billboards. Every New Year’s Eve, thousands gather to watch the magical New Year’s ball drop during the last 60 seconds before the new year begins.
Fremont Street, Las Vegas
In the last century, perhaps no other city has changed as much as Las Vegas. From a small desert town with a population of 2,400 in 1900, the Las Vegas Valley quickly became one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States. The population now numbers more than 2.4 million.
Great Sphinx, Giza
The Great Sphinx is the largest and most famous monolith statue in the world. The limestone structure sits adjacent to the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and depicts a mythical creature with a human head and the body of a lion.
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Beginning in 1927, sculptors spent 14 years carving the faces of U.S. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt (Teddy) and Lincoln into the side of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Chosen by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, these presidents represent the most significant events in the country’s history.
The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Since its opening on August 6, 1791, the Brandenburg Gate has seen its share of historically significant events. It survived a conquest by Napoleon’s soldiers, who stole the most distinctive feature, the Quadriga, and carried it back to France as a victory trophy. It was later returned to Berlin after Napoleon’s defeat.
Madison Square Garden, New York City
When Pennsylvania Station opened in 1910, it was widely praised for its magnificent architecture. It was the largest indoor space in New York City, with sunshine flooding into the chamber through 1,500 feet of vaulted glass windows.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
To declare that Dubai has gone through explosive growth would be an understatement. It went from a small cluster of settlements to a modern port, city and commercial hub fueled by the oil trade in record time. The city’s ruler once declared, "Dubai will never settle for anything less than first place."
Anyone who has studied Roman history knows that the ancient city of Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Once a destination for Rome’s elite, the ruins remained covered until discovered by architect Domenico Fontana late in the 16th century.
Disneyland may be the most dynamic theme park in the world, changing and adding attractions almost yearly since its opening in 1955. However, the park has been successful in maintaining the vision of its founder by keeping many of the classic attractions that made up the original venue, including Main Street, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and Frontierland.
Berlin Wall, Germany
When the Berlin wall was constructed in 1961, the Communist government of East Germany declared it a barrier to keep capitalism out of the Soviet-occupied zone. Of course, its more realistic purpose was to prevent East Germans from escaping to free West Germany. After Germany was divided into two states but before the wall was built, 3.6 million people fled to the west through Berlin.
Hollywood Sign, Beverly Hills
Most people know Hollywood is the movie and television capital of the world. However, few know that the district in Los Angeles was once called "Hollywoodland." The legendary sign built on Mount Lee in 1923 included the "land" lettering and was meant to attract developers to the area for real estate investments.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was constructed for Mausolus, the ruler of Caria (an ancient district of southwestern Anatolia), and his queen Artemisia. Measuring 140 feet tall, experts believe the tomb was built between 353 and 350 BC.
In its prime, the Roman Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, accommodated more than 50,000 spectators and was about the size of an American football stadium. A gift to the Roman citizens, the venue was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian around 70 AD.
The Parthenon, Greece
Three temples, Athena Nike, Erechtheum and the Parthenon, grace the flat top of the Acropolis, a rocky hill in the center of Athens. The Parthenon, built in the mid-5th century BCE, is the most dominant and was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena Parthenos, known as "Athena the Virgin."
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The ultimate manifestation of Khmer genius, Angkor Wat is an inspirational temple and the largest religious monument in the world. Initially built for the Hindu god Vishnu during the Khmer Empire, it was later converted to a Buddhist temple.
Coba Nohoch Mul, Yucatán Peninsula
The pyramids built by the Maya civilization between 200 and 900 AD differ from those constructed by the Egyptians, although they are similar in appearance. Built as religious complexes, the Mayan structures demonstrate a variety of designs and styles. Egyptian pyramids were built to serve exclusively as tombs.
Although Stonehenge may look like a mere collection of big rocks placed in a circle, it is perhaps the world’s most famous — and most mysterious — prehistoric monument. Although its purpose is unknown, plenty of theories have been offered by historians.
Statue of Liberty, New York City
A gift from the people of France to the U.S. following the American Revolution, the Statue of Liberty is a massive neoclassical sculpture that resides in New York Harbor. Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the robed statue with a raised torch and stone tablet measures more than 305 feet tall.
Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower served as the entrance and main exhibit of the 1889 Paris Exposition (World's Fair). It was erected to memorialize the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and to demonstrate France's industrial competence.
The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre is arguably the most significant art museum in the world. It hosts more visitors each year than any other museum and offers a collection that includes works of art from ancient civilizations to the mid-19th century. The museum is housed in a castle that was constructed several thousand years ago.
Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace was built in the 1700s and has been the official London residence of Britain's monarchy since 1837. Tourists flock to the site by the thousands to watch the Changing of the Guard ritual that takes place every morning. Household Troops have guarded the monarch and the royal palaces since 1660.
Space Needle, Seattle
Most current Seattle residents can’t remember what the skyline was like before the Space Needle was built. Just short of 60 years old, it’s the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.
Gateway Arch, St. Louis
Reaching the top of the Gateway Arch by tram is no simple task. Visitors must climb more than 96 steps, stand and wait for 30 to 60 minutes and refrain from using the bathroom for quite some time since there are no restrooms at the top. However, for those who make it, the reward is a view to the east and west that stretches up to 30 miles.
Chernobyl Swimming Pool, Pripyat, Ukraine
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant became an infamous unintentional landmark on April 25, 1986, when an explosion resulted in high levels of radiation exposure throughout the surrounding area. Some areas in the nearby town of Pripyat will remain uninhabitable for thousands of years.
World Trade Center, New York City
No one will ever forget that fateful day on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, altering the New York City skyline forever. Although the World Trade Center was composed of seven buildings, the two iconic towers rose above most of the surrounding buildings and were identifiable from any part of the city.
Dharahara Tower, Nepal
Kathmandu is famous for its many temples, including Pashupatinath, perhaps the country's most valuable Hindu temple. The noisy and vibrant capital city, Nepal, also has several important monuments as well as one historical landmark that is no more.
Morandi Bridge, Genoa, Italy
Highway bridges are built to allow vehicle transportation over an otherwise impassable object, like a river, bay or another highway. They are practical engineering marvels that can also become popular landmarks for the pleasing view they add to the landscape.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Although Congress passed bills to commission a monument in Abraham Lincoln’s honor two years after his death, it took nearly 50 years for the monument to break ground. The original design was a bit exaggerated with 31 pedestrian statues, six statues with an equestrian theme and a towering 12-foot-high statue of the president.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is a massive mausoleum made of white marble constructed in the mid-1600s by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife. When the Mughal Empire fell in the late 19th century, the tomb fell into disrepair. However, just before 1900, Lord Curzon, the British Viceroy of India, ordered the Taj Mahal to be restored.