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18 Famous Landmarks From Around the World 

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Every country around the world has some form of an iconic or famous landmark. In some cases, mother nature created these awe-inspiring locations in renowned cities while great artists and architects designed others. Many of these constructed landmarks have become synonymous with their respective countries, such as the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Taj Mahal in India.

There are specific landmarks that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. These landmarks represent the incredible art and architecture of the country’s history. They can even symbolize the love between two people or for one’s country. So let’s travel around the world and discover some of the most famous landmarks that everyone should check out.

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India has a rich history with stunning landmarks throughout the country. The most famous is the iconic Taj Mahal, an awe-inspiring landmark known around the globe. It brings in roughly 6 million tourists yearly and has a rich history dating back to the 1600s.

In 1631, the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, commissioned the Islamic ivory-white marble mausoleum following the death of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. At the center of the stunning 42-acre complex is Mumtaz’s tomb. It also includes a guest house, formal gardens, a mosque, and the tomb of Shah Jahan. A masterpiece of Mughal architecture and Muslim art, UNESCO declared the Taj Mahal a World Heritage Site in 1983. 

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The Empire State Building is a cultural icon and one of New York City’s most famous landmarks. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the 102-story Art Deco skyscraper stands at 1,454 feet. After a year of construction, the historic landmark opened in 1931, making headlines around the globe.

At first, the Empire State Building was anything but historic. It became a running joke during the Great Depression and World War II since it remained empty, gaining the nickname “Empty State Building.” It wasn’t until the 50s that the building’s owners began to turn a profit. It soon became one of America’s most famous tourist attractions.

Upon its debut, the Empire State Building was the tallest in the world. While it no longer holds that title, it remains an iconic New York City landmark. Other iconic New York City landmarks include Grand Central Station and Times Square.

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Regarded as the finest of French gothic architecture, Notre Dame de Paris is another famous landmark well worth a visit. An icon in Paris, France, the Notre Dame cathedral features the famous three-pipe organ, church bells, and colorful rose windows.

Constructed between 1163 and 1260, it suffered extensive damage during the French Revolution in 1790. Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame renewed interest in the iconic landmark as it went through several restoration periods to become one of the most visited landmarks in Paris. 

A fire in 2019 almost destroyed the building and plans were made to reconstruct the church with a modern design, but this was quickly squashed. The rebuilding of Notre Dame is set to be completed in 2024. 


Stretching 13,170 miles throughout China is the country’s most famous symbol, the Great Wall of China. Construction began in the 7th century BC in Imperial China along the borders of the Ancient Chinese states. The primary purpose was to protect against enemies and other threats. It was also a vital trade route along the Silk Road.

Since that time various dynasties have expanded and improved the wall. In addition to serving as a transportation passageway, the Great Wall includes troop barracks, garrison stations, and watchtowers. The Ming Dynasty sections in Beijing are a popular tourist attraction and the most visited area of the Wall.

Surrounding Bennelong Point on the Sydney Harbour is the architectural marvel known as the Sydney Opera House. It’s one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks in the world. After winning a competition in 1955, architect Jørn Utzon’s design became the crown jewel of Australia. However, several setbacks and disagreements delayed construction, resulting in Utzon’s resignation from the project.

Queen Elizabeth II finally opened the iconic opera house in 1973. The multi-venue performing center consists of a concert hall, playhouse, studio, drama theatre, the Utzon room, and an outdoor forecourt. The UNESCO World Heritage site is the home to the Sydney Orchestra, Opera Australia, and the Sydney Theatre Company. It’s a popular tourist destination attracting roughly 10 million visitors annually, with 1.2 million attending the 1,500 yearly shows. 

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In 1800, President John Adams moved the American capital from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. This is when construction began on the historic landmark, the White House. It was built to serve as the official residence and workplace for the U.S. President. Based on the Leinster House in Dublin, architect James Hoban employed a neo-classical style for the iconic site.

In 1814, British forces burnt the White House down during the War of 1812. Known as the Burning of Washington, the fire damaged the exterior and destroyed the interior. Throughout the years the various Presidents enhanced, improved, and restored the famous landmark.

It now consists of the Executive residence, the West Wing, the East Wing, and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Washington D.C. has other famous landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, but none attract the same amount of visitors as the White House. 

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Above the Sacred Valley on a mountain ridge in southern Peru sits the 15th-century Inca citadel, Machu Picchu. Also known as the “Lost City of the Incas,” Europeans first discovered the site in the 19th century, long after the Incas appeared to have abandoned Machu Picchu.

Archaeologists suggest the Incas built the stunning citadel for the Inca emperor Pachacuti who lived in Machu Picchu from 1420 to 1532. It’s become a huge tourist attraction in Peru, with visitors traveling from all over the world. It features dry-stone walls highlighting the classic Inca architecture. Furthermore, it includes the Temple of Sun, the Room of the Three Windows, and Intihuatana. 

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Big Ben is more than just a clock. It’s a cultural icon and a symbol of London, England. With its neo-gothic architecture, construction lasted from 1843 to 1859. Better known as the Great Clock of Westminster, Big Ben is actually the nickname for the Great Bell, however, most people use the nickname Big Ben to refer to the entire structure.

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, the tower’s name changed from Clock Tower to Elizabeth Tower in 2012. The tower stands 15 feet high and features one of England’s largest bells. It tolls at the top of every hour, with quarter bell chimes at 15, 30, and 45 minutes. With its rich history, London has many other famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, and Windsor Castle. 

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In the 12th century, King Suryavarman II commissioned the construction of the Angkor Wat for the Khmer Empire in present-day Siem Reap, Cambodia. Initially, it was a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and later became a Buddhist temple. The serene complex features a central temple, three rectangular galleries, and a moat. The Hindu-Buddhist temple is known for being a tranquil and harmonious place to visit that often leaves visitors with a feeling of contentment. 

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The legendary Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County, California. The incredible suspension bridge is an iconic symbol of San Francisco. It spans three miles, crossing the Golden Gate strait, linking San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The famous bridge carries cars, bicycles, and pedestrian traffic.

The original proposal for the bridge received approval in 1916 but construction didn’t begin until 1933, eventually opening in 1947. Tragically the Golden Gate Bridge is also famous for its high suicide rate. Roughly 1,500 suicides occurred on the bridge. In 2017, the city began installing stainless steel netting as a preventable measure. 


Japan has a rich history full of iconic landmarks, but Mount Fuji is more than just a legendary landmark. It’s one of the most recognizable symbols of Japan. With an elevation of 12,389 feet, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan.

Mount Fuji is also an active volcano, last erupting between 1707 and 1708. Just outside of Tokyo, tourists, climbers, and hikers travel from around the globe to visit the cultural icon that is Mount Fuji. 


At 7:48 am on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. The surprise attack killed more than 2,000 Americans and damaged numerous ships. The attack caused the U.S. to declare war and join the fight against the Axis powers. At the time, the U.S. remained neutral during World War II.

The Pearl Harbor National memorial marks the events of the attack. It also includes the USS Oklahoma, USS Utah, and USS Arizona memorials. The visitor center features a sculpture, a movie about the attack, galleries, and a ferry to the Arizona memorial. 


Construction of the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa began in 1173. With a height of 183 feet, the tower is constructed from marble and stone. During the 12th century, the soft ground could no longer support the building. Hence, it began to lean on an angle.

In 1372, the Leaning Tower was complete, but the builders failed to correct the tower’s tilt. The legendary building is part of the Pisa Cathedral in Pisa, Italy. There were several attempts to correct the angle, but they often added to the problem. Builders finally stabilized and secured the Leaning Tower but kept it on a tilt to preserve the famous landmark that attracts millions of people every year. 

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Archeologists believe the Colorado River began cutting and shaping the 277 miles of the Grand Canyon 5 to 6 million years ago. The world-famous tourist attraction plays a vital role in understanding 2 billion years of Earth’s history. It’s also been home to several Native American tribes who settled in the caves and canyon centuries ago. The Grand Canyon attracts thousands of visitors each year. 

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2.6 million tourists travel to Yucatán State, Mexico, to visit the iconic Chichen Itza every year. Archeologists discovered it once belonged to the Mayan civilization. It features various pre-Columbian architectural styles, notably from the Northern Maya lowlands and central Mexico. Further evidence suggests it has stood since the Late Classic and Terminal Classic Periods. 

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New York City is one of the best-known cities around the globe. Aside from being the financial capital of America, New York City is also famous for its abundance of famous landmarks, notably Central Park. Construction began in 1857, covering 843 acres in Manhattan’s Upper West and Upper East Sides.

The park eventually became one of the world’s most famous urban parks. In addition to the rich biodiversity, Central Park features several landmarks, including Central Park Zoo, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Wollman Rink, Sheep Meadow, and Central Park Carousel. 

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Located in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks. Engineer Gustav Eiffel and his company built the cultural icon for the 1889 Exposition Universelle to celebrate the anniversary of the French Revolution. Several artists and critics disapproved of the massive structure’s design at the time.

Standing at 1,083 feet, the Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris. Also known locally as La dame de fer, the wrought iron tower is one of the most visited landmarks in France. It consists of two levels of restaurants and one of the highest observation decks in Europe. The Eiffel Tower is just one of many famous Paris landmarks that also include the iconic Arc de Triomphe and the Palais du Luxembourg.


In the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota, is the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It covers 1,278 acres, with roughly 2 million visitors each year. Also known as the Shrine of Democracy, the sculpture consists of the four heads of US Presidents that helped shape the country: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

The president’s heads are approximately 60 feet tall, facing the southeast to increase exposure to the sun. The iconic landmark is also a source of controversy. The Mount Rushmore sculpture sits on land illegally stolen from the Sioux Nation in the 1870s. In the 80s, the Supreme Court awarded the Sioux Nation $102 million in compensation, but they declined the money. 

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Devjot Bath is a content writer who enjoys classic comedies, bad movies, and cuddling. He has over ten years of experience working for diverse publications writing about fitness, comedy, movies, celebrities, and men's lifestyles.

Devjot Bath is a content writer who enjoys classic comedies, bad movies, and cuddling. He has over ten years of experience working for diverse publications writing about fitness, comedy, movies, celebrities, and men's lifestyles.

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