The Flatiron Building Then
New York City’s Flatiron Building has been widely regarded as one of the most unique structures in the world but that wasn’t always the goal. The initial purpose of the building was simply intended to be an office space for the Chicago-based contracting firm, George A. Fuller Company. The distinct, triangular shape of the Flatiron Building was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and was built in 1902.
Interestingly enough, it was this unique design that allowed the building to fit perfectly on the wedge-shaped property where the Flatiron Building still stands today. Standing at 22 stories high, and 307 feet tall, the Flatiron never earned the acclaim of New York City’s tallest building but is still considered one of the most dramatic-looking buildings in the Big Apple.
The Flatiron Building Today
Today the Flatiron building is surrounded by the multitude of massive, dramatic skyscrapers that make up the world-renowned Manhattan skyline. The oddly shaped workspaces — many of which are located at the very corner of the Flatiron building — are actually some of the most coveted office spaces in the entire building. Another interesting quirk about the building is that its gendered bathrooms are placed on alternating floors.
Here, the Men’s restrooms can be found on the even floors of the building, while the Women’s restrooms are located on the odd floors. The reason? According to the History Channel, the answer to this question dates back to the first opening days of the building. It was during this time that, the designers of the building realized that they had forgotten to include any ladies’ restrooms. To fix the issue, management resolved to designate bathrooms for men and women by alternating floors.
Though today the city of Shanghai, China is widely populated, filled with the bustle of over 26.32 million people (as of 2019), it was not until recently that this city gained prominence and recognition. Before, Shanghai was nothing more than a simple port town. In fact, prior to China’s economic growth in the ‘80s, Shanghai actually experienced three decades of great famine, drought, reform, and suppression—atrocities directly due to the Chinese Communist Party’s establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Things started to change. In the 70s, a cultural revolution was born and people of many cultures started to flood the city. A movement called Shanghai Communiqué made an agreement held between China and the United States, signed by Shanghai’s then-leader Premier Zhou Enlai and then-President Nixon—that this Asian nation would finally begin to see an improvement in the quality of life and wellbeing
In present-day Shanghai, the beauty and charm of this once quaint city now coexist alongside industry and commercialism. The progressive, innovative nature of this major present-day Chinese city is due largely in part to the widespread work and efforts of Deng Xiaoping, China’s former leader, elected to office in 1990. In fact, the name Shanghai means “the engine of the country's commercial renaissance.” Sounds fitting!
Xiaoping made it his goal to make the city a major rival competitor of Hong Kong by 2010. Thanks to this progressive Chinese leader, Shanghai has grown greatly over the span of less than 25 years. Today, it is known as the “vertical city”—a nickname earned for famously boasting several of the tallest buildings in the world, most notably of these, the whopping 2,037-foot Shanghai Tower.
Las Vegas's Freemont Street Then
While the Las Vegas Strip is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Sin City, before this iconic strip of land, there was Fremont Street. Around since Las Vegas’s founding back in 1905, the street became the hub for all of the hustle and bustle of Vegas back in the day. Back then, it was considered to be an incredibly progressive city. By the 1980s, Las Vegas would experience an explosion of unexpected growth in the city’s population.
As a result, the annual population of Las Vegas would increase by an average of approximately seven percent. This rapid rise in population would eventually lead to the nearly doubling of the city’s population between 1985 and 1995—an astounding 97.6 percent from 186,380 to 368,360.
Las Vegas's Freemont Street Today
Of the many present-day developments in Fremont Street, the most obvious is The Golden Nugget, which as you can clearly see above, got a bright, glittery facelift. But above all, perhaps the most striking is the modern-looking barrel vault canopy that now hangs over the street. The spectacular $70-million canopy, which hangs above the mall offers tourists and visitors the chance to witness a mesmerizing show of light and sound
It is the main attraction of the Fremont Street Experience, a pedestrian mall with an array of attractions for those who are knowledgeable enough to venture off the strip and into Downtown Las Vegas.
Dresden Frauenkirche Then
A real-life example of the great atrocities of war is the German city of Dresden which was brought to almost complete ruin in 1945. Great efforts to reconstruct the Dresden Frauenkirche were carried out, despite the country’s then Communist regime's refusal to rebuild the historic landmark. As a result, the ruins of the Frauenkirche church remained untouched for years—“a symbol against war and as a memorial for those who were killed.”
Finally, in 1989, following the monumentally historic fall of the Berlin Wall, the city of Dresden carried forward with a concrete plan to reconstruct the Frauenkirche church. This longstanding reconstruction project stretched on for decades. It was not until 2005 that the reconstruction of the city’s beloved church was finally officially completed. Despite annual neo-Nazi attempts to march in the area around the church in commemoration of its destruction every year on February 13, in recent years, these marches have been largely suppressed by an incredible human chain, linked together by more than 10,000 protestors.
Dresden Frauenkirche Today
Though the Church was largely destroyed as a result of World War II attacks on the city of Dresden, thankfully, the Martin Luther Statue placed in front of the church was far luckier. Originally built in the 18th century, this statue memorializes Martin Luther, the famed forerunner and leader of the Protestant Reformation. While prior to World War II, the city center of Dresden was majorly occupied by residential buildings, nowadays, only a few of these structures can be found in the area.
Today, most of the buildings in the center are taken up by shops, museums, hotels, restaurants, and office spaces. Though a large part of the city has in fact been successfully restored to its former glory pre-WWII, this restoration is far from over. Upon visiting the city today, visitors will still find a myriad of construction sites scattered throughout many areas and streets of the city.
The Lincoln Memorial Then
The Lincoln Memorial was built to commemorate the president’s tragic assassination in 1865. In the end, it took more than 50 years before the ground finally broke on the memorial project, and construction began. From here, it would take another ten or so years before the final monument was completed. In 1922, the Lincoln Memorial was finally opened to the general public.
The dedication ceremony celebrated and unified both civilians and veterans. Sadly it did not succeed in unifying a large part of the population as those attending the 1922 dedication ceremony were divided along racial lines even if it appeared to advocate for equality.
The Lincoln Memorial Today
In more recent years, this historic site has become an area for some of the nation’s most important civil justice movements. Of the many historic events to occur at the Lincoln Memorial, perhaps the most notable to date is Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream” speech. Given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, this iconic speech gave a “new voice to the meanings that reverberated through the stone.” According to Statista, today the Lincoln Memorial hosts an average of approximately 6 million visitors every year. In 2018, this number rose to an estimated 7.8 million.
The Lincoln Memorial is inscribed with excerpts from two of Lincoln’s most famous speeches: The Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. He is largely regarded as a “Savior of the Union,” so it’s only right that the monument has served as a site for many protests and speeches throughout the years.
The Eiffel Tower Then
Believe it or not, the city actually built the Eiffel Tower as an entrance to the World Fair of 1889. Of all the artists who submitted proposals, it was the architect, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel that ultimately received the honor of constructing the great Parisian monument. It is notable to point out that it was actually one of his employees, Maurice Koechlin—not Eiffel himself—that devised the Eiffel Tower’s original design and conception. When the Eiffel Tower first made its debut at 1,000 feet high was deemed the tallest building in the world.
Despite its popularity today, back then many Parisians hated it as they either feared the structure was unsound or believed that it was nothing more than an annoying eyesore. It was even scheduled for demolition in 1909, with the arrival of World War I but was put on hold, as the tower ultimately proved to be a vital radiotelegraph station for the country and its Allies.
The Eiffel Tower Today
Today the Eiffel Tower is considered one of the “most recognizable structures on the planet." To ensure proper maintenance of the structure, 500 employees are tasked with keeping up the tower’s daily operations, including restaurant workers, elevator operators, security guards, and crowd organizers, who control the vital flow of the crowds that flock in and out of the Eiffel Tower’s platforms.
Here, guests are just a short elevator ride away from breathtaking, panoramic views of Paris, viewable at the three different access points of the tower. For those looking to splurge, two of these levels of the Eiffel Tower actually contain restaurants, where one can sit by candlelight while taking in the beauty that is Paris, France.
The Golden Gate Bridge Then
The iconic Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge was initially created to connect the bustling cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, to its northern, more isolated suburban neighbors. According to the History Channel, prior to the construction of the bridge, the only way to travel between these two locations was by ferry boat. In 1919, a Chicago engineer and Ohio native by the name of Joseph Strauss was appointed and hired as the bridge’s chief engineer. This was no easy feat.
Not only did it cost millions of dollars but there was also a lot of resistance from people like city officials, environmentalists, and of course many ferry operators who feared the future of their businesses. Additionally, those in opposition were also adamantly concerned that no bridge would be unable to withstand major natural disasters that were somewhat common in the area, like the earthquake that shook up San Francisco in 1906.
The Golden Gate Bridge Today
Despite all the structural issues and opposition surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge, the iconic art deco-designed stands strong. Indeed, throughout the bridges’ building, workers were faced with various dangerous obstacles, but with the placement of one sturdy supporting net, many workers were saved from accidentally plunging to their deaths. But tragedy struck in 1937, after a piece of scaffold unluckily and unexpectedly plummeted straight through the safety net.
As a result, 10 construction workers fatally fell through the net, and to their eventual deaths. Despite these devastating fatalities, after only four years, the bridge was completed on March 6, 1933. In February of 1986, the 1 billionth car would cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, nearly 2 billion vehicles have passed over the bridge. On average, over 41 million vehicles cross the bridge every year.
The Brandenburg Gate Then
Constructed between 1788 and 1791 by Prussian King Frederick William II, the Brandenburg Gate was originally intended to serve as a key point of entry to the city of Berlin. The sculpture of a four-horsed chariot driven by the goddess Victoria was inspired by the legendary Greek Acropolis in Athens, the Quadriga. It is considered the gate’s most distinctive feature and was even stolen by Napoleon Bonaparte in October of 1806.
The Gate’s most prominent feature was later reclaimed and restored and went on to remain and endure throughout much of Germany’s toughest times, including the nation’s Nazi rule during World War II. This statue would go on to survive not only World War II but also later The Cold War.
The Brandenberg Gate Today
Of the myriad of historical moments that this symbol of German unification, perhaps the most profound of its history was its purpose as a part of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War of the late ‘40s to ‘90s. It became the point of much contention when in 1963, former President John F. Kennedy’s visited Germany and Soviet authorities hung red banners in order to obstruct the president’s views of East Germany.
Though the Bradenburg would close for restoration purposes in late 2000, it was officially reopened to pedestrians in 2009, while remaining closed to all ongoing vehicle traffic. According to Britannica, today, the Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most visited landmarks and tourist attractions.
The City of Dubai Then
When thinking about the progressive city of Dubai today, it is hard to believe that this major, international oil city was nothing more than a near barren desert at the turn of this millennia. With the major discovery of oil in the 1950s and ‘60s, the oil trade industry in Dubai would eventually grow to become the city’s primary source of revenue. It was the oil industry that fueled the city of Dubai to develop and grow to become the modern and developed city it is today.
Today, the oil trade is still considered the city’s main source of revenue and has lent itself to many of the city’s major architectural developments, most famously being the Burj Khalifa, aka the world’s tallest building, as seen in the photo above. Taken in 2005, this photo illustrates the early beginnings of this iconic skyscraper.
The City of Dubai Today
Presently, at 2,717 feet, this massive skyscraper holds the illustrious title of the tallest tower in the world. Nowadays, Dubai is not just the home of the world’s tallest building, but now also holds claim to the world’s tallest hotel, the world’s largest shopping center, the world’s largest indoor theme park, as well as the world’s longest fully automated metro network. The city’s most recent estimate counts 1,344 completed skyscrapers in the skyline of Dubai.
It's no surprise that in 2006, a quarter of the world’s cranes were designated for Dubai construction sites. While it slowed down a little in 2008, the city grows strong and is able to support and sustain much of its economy from its now bustling tourism industry. Additionally, in this middle eastern location, the number of men that comprise the population greatly outnumbers the number of women—69 percent to 31 percent, to be exact.
Moved and inspired by Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, as well as a number of other theme parks he visited with his daughters, Walt Disney decided to build his second Disney theme park for those on the west coast. Having had so much success the first time around, Disney was surprisingly having trouble getting funds. But he found a solution, a Disney television show.
Appropriately titled, Disneyland TV, this hour-long, weekly television show provided Disney with the funds necessary to carry on the construction of Disneyland and also enabled him to promote his new park. Finally, on July 17, 1955, Disneyland opened its doors for the very first time. Within just ten weeks of opening, this new Disney amusement park would attract a staggering one million visitors alone!
Even though over a half-century has passed since the park's creation, the magic of Disneyland has yet to disappear. If anything, it's only grown stronger with time. Disney fans from all over the world travel halfway across the globe just to enter the park’s legendary gates. In 2013 alone, Walt Disney attractions saw a combined total of over 132.5 million park visitors.
Since then, 13 more Disney theme parks, 46 Disney-themed resort hotels, a Disney cruise line, and other alternate guided Disney-centered vacation experiences have been created. In September 2005, the newest Disneyland opened in the city of Hong Kong. While Walt Disney is not alive today, his legacy remains strong, and will indefinitely continue for generations to come.
Iconic Structures of the Quai des Nations Then
The breathtaking structures built along the Seine River in France, for the 1900 World Exhibition once stood strong. Though the buildings built for this major global event were breathtaking, sadly the structures were not built to last. Ultimately, most of these beautiful pieces of architecture were demolished soon after the exhibition came to a close.
The World Exposition is an international, global showcase, which, in the case of this year’s event, displayed buildings that represented countries all over the world, the buildings above (from left to right, respectively) display the buildings from the United States, the Ottoman Empire, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Macaco.
The Demolished Iconic Structures of the Quai des Nations Today
Like a majority of the other structures built for the 1900 World Exposition, the Quai des Nations was eventually demolished following the end of the exhibition. In fact, if it were not for the recognizable structure of the Eiffel Tower in the background of the above photograph, taken in present-day Paris, one may not even be able to realize that the location above is actually the exact same location along the Seine seen in the previous photograph.
The Eiffel Tower and the Passerelle Debilly are the only two monuments to survive and the rest of the space was just left to be an open-air area. Here, construction on this strip of land along the Seine is kept to a minimum.
Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid Then
The numbers at this cemetery are incredible: 4 million graves in the cemetery, which is more than the current population of Madrid. It’s a reminder of the passage of time, and that we dedicate a lot of land to burying our fellow humans.
It was the main cemetery for the entire city from 1884 to 1973, and from the 1920s was almost the only one for the majority of the population of Madrid.
Our Lady of Almudena Cemetery in Madrid Now
Set in the capital and most populous city in Spain, it is now known as the largest cemeteries in Madrid and one of the largest in Western Europe.
Throngs of visitors, especially on All Saints’ Day, on November 1, navigate the burial ground through streets with names and changing sections that vary like different neighborhoods.
Seattle Space Needle Then
Known as the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River, the Seattle Space Needle was designed with the simple intention of serving as an observation tower for the city. Standing at 605 feet tall, this modern marvel was built by the conjoint efforts of American hotel and airline mogul Edward E. Carlson, along with architect John Graham, Jr., this structure would draw a massive 2.3 million spectators to its grand unveiling at the 1962 World’s Fair.
The Century 21 Exposition, otherwise known as the Seattle World's Fair, was open from April 21, 1962, up until October 21 and brought nearly 10 million visitors. The US Government also committed over 9 million dollars to this World Fair, in order to build the NASA-themed United States Science Exhibit, now known as the Pacific Science Center today.
The Space Needle Today
Today, The Space Needle of Seattle, Washington continues to attract a myriad of tourists to the city every year. With elevators rapidly climbing to the top of the observation deck at 520 feet in just 41 seconds, it comes as no surprise just how many people flock to this hot tourist destination annually. In 1999, the Space Needle would receive the esteemed status of an official Seattle historic landmark—and rightfully so!
Over the years, this amazing and unique structure has gone through a number of renovations and changes. For instance, while there were once two restaurants at the top of the Space Needle, today there is just one—though a stunning restaurant at that! A pacific northwest cuisine restaurant, this unique restaurant is able to rotate a full 360 degrees every forty-seven minutes, giving all of its patrons a world-class, panoramic view of the bustling city of Seattle.
Hollywood Then — Hollywoodland
Today everyone knows Hollywood and the iconic Hollywood sign but it wasn't always like that. Erected back in 1923, the famous Hollywood sign was originally enacted to attract developers to the area. The land came from a woman named Daeida Wilcox Beveridge, the woman who donated the plot to help in the development of Hollywood. While everyone knows the name, there is some mystery about where the name "Hollywood" actually came from.
Some believe it came from the time Beveridge met someone on a train, who had a summer home by the name of ‘Hollywood.’ Others argue Hollywood is a nod to a red-berried shrub by the name of California holly, which grows abundantly in the surrounding California areas. Even as a mystery, in 1903, Hollywood was established as a municipality, and in 1910 the area merged with the great city of Los Angeles, just a year before the first film studio would move to the area.
The Hollywood Sign, Today
The ingenious ploy to market the land worked like a charm. As a result, this area is now one of the most highly recognized places in the world, a symbol of the entertainment industry in its entirety. Though by the time the ‘70s rolled around, the Hollywood sign was in extremely poor shape. That changed in 1978 when Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner and eight other donors contributed $27,777.77 to fund the restorative project.
Over the years, many pranksters have attempted to deface the iconic sign. The most infamous happened on January 1, 1976, when a student named Danny Finegood and his friends used black and white fabric to reword the letters to read “Hollyweed." The act was a part of their school’s art project, for which he reportedly received an A.
The Gateway Arch Then
Situated in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, the historic Gateway Arch stands at 630 feet high and was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen. The gate was constructed in order to honor founding father Thomas Jefferson’s vision for the transcontinental United States. In fact, it was originally named the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.”
Despite the construction, many citizens opposed the building, largely because of the substantial amount of public money that was being funneled into it. Ultimately, upon its completion in 1965, the Gateway Arch would forever serve as a massive symbol of national identity, as well as a prime example of “mid-century modern design.”
The Gateway Arch Today
In 1987, the Gateway Arch officially became a national landmark. Additionally, in 1974, the awe-inspiring structure would go on to rank fourth on the list of “most-visited man-made attractions” in the world, as well as one of the 10 most visited arches in the world.
Everything from lighting to security is carefully thought out by the National Park Service and rangers of the site constantly work to ensure the proper maintenance of the structure that holds meaning and purpose for so many Americans of the past, present, and future.
The World Trade Center Then
The World Trade Center of New York City was originally comprised of seven buildings, spread all across the NYC burrow of lower Manhattan. While the concept was proposed in 1943, it was not built until David Rockefeller put the construction in motion. In total, over 10,000 workers were hired for the construction of the massive World Trade Center complex.
At the time of the World Trade Center’s initial construction, there were a number of concerns. However, despite it all, the World Trade Center would carry on. Beginning on August 5, 1966, it was completed by April 4, 1973. The structure was considered “a triumph of human imagination and will,”
The Tragedy and Ground Zero Today
It was on this day—on 9/11–that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center would fall in an act of brutal, extremist terrorism. 2,606 innocent people in and around the towers in the Financial District would be tragically taken. In addition to the lives of those taken on the ground, the 157 people on board the two hijacked planes that crashed would also be tragically killed during the terrorist attack. In the aftermath of these devastating attacks, the tragedy, though heartbreaking, inspired Americans to band together, supporting one another through the nation’s darkest hours.
The tragic loss of loved ones, combined with the shocking disappearance of the Twin Towers from the classic New York City skyline, will forever serve as a reminder to never forget what happened on the tragic September day. On September 12, 2011, a memorial to honor the victims, as well as the heroic efforts of the firefighters and first responders was placed at Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood.
The Dharahara Tower Then
Built back in 1932 by Bhimsen Thapa—the “Machiavellian” mukhtiyar (chief minister) of Nepal, the Dharahara Tower stood tall over downtown Kathmandu, Nepal for nearly two centuries. Rising nine stories high from its base to the top, the monument was recognized as the tallest building in Nepal. This tower housed a spiral staircase, complete with 213 steps for any visitors brave enough to take on the challenge of hiking up to the very top of the structure.
But being in the Himalayan Valley and its terrifying proximity to an unstable fault line, the Dharahara Tower faced a myriad of environmental challenges since its construction. After standing through some formidable earthquakes, the tower's luck ran out. On April 25, 2015, Nepal’s most iconic landmark was reduced to rubble, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the nation.
The Dharahara Tower Today
The government of Nepal banned together to push forward efforts to reconstruct the Dharahara Tower. Construction of the Dharahara Tower 2.0 began in June of 2018. Designers, architects, and builders aimed to make the new Dharahara Tower completely earthquake-proof.
Funded by the Nepal Reconstruction Authority — the government organization leading the reconstruction effort of the structure — according to Lonely Planet, while the new tower is “aesthetically similar” to that of the old tower that once stood prior to the earthquake, the new tower was ultimately decided to be constructed out of modern materials, utilized with the latest earthquake-resistant technology.
The Berlin Wall Then
The infamous Berlin Wall of Germany was widely regarded all over the world as the “Wall of Shame.” Constructed on August 13, 1961, by the German Democratic Republic following the end of World War II, this foreboding concrete, barbed wire was placed between East and West Berlin, and was built to divide the German city of Berlin both ‘physically’ and ‘ideologically.’
Heavily guarded by German militants, the Berlin Wall stood for nearly three decades. This suppressive structure was meant to prevent those in East Germany from crossing over into the West. Prior to the wall’s construction, an estimated 3.5 million East Germans crossed over from the East, into West Berlin.
The Berlin Wall Today
In 1989, a series of protests against the wall began to emerge. It was not long before the fight against this repressive wall gained the attention of world-renowned celebrities like David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and even David Hasselhoff, all of whom strongly advocated for tearing down this oppressive German wall.
Finally, on November 9, 1989, the head of the East German Communist Party formally announced that they would once again allow the citizens of the GDR to cross the border. Following this announcement, people soon began to climb over the wall, in order to cross over this symbolic German border structure. Eventually, people even began to rip apart and tear down this once impenetrable wall. Finally, on October 3, 1990, the wall was officially torn down.
Morandi Bridge Then
First opened in 1967 in the Italian city of Genoa, the Ponte Morandi was considered a ‘vital artery’ into the neighboring country of France and a key link that would otherwise be separated by the Polcevera River. Named after the civil engineer who designed it — Riccardo Morandi — this bridge, stretched a lengthy 3,878ft. The ‘signature’ Morandi piece was similar to his 1957 design of the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela.
The Morandi bridge was particularly unique. Indeed, though most cable-stayed bridges contain ‘stays’ comprised of woven metal cables, Morandi opted to instead utilize prestressed concrete around tie-rods—thus making it impossible to view the condition of the metal underneath the bridge. In doing so, Morandi ultimately and unknowingly caused a problem.
Ponte Morandi Today
Sadly, this beloved piece of architecture suddenly collapsed due to torrential rain pour. The 700 feet of the bridge fell 150 feet into the river below. Following the tragic accident, 43 people were confirmed dead, and an estimated 15 others were raced to the hospitals after they sustained critical injuries. The public demanded answers. Ultimately it was discovered that the bridge was riddled with faults and that a collapse was inevitable.
According to engieering.com, “preliminary investigation points to a combination of poor design, questionable building practices, and insufficient maintenance.”The remnants of this bridge are said to eventually be demolished and rebuilt to withstand any and all future weather incidents.
Notre Dame Then
Paris has always had a special place in the hearts of many. The city has definitely cast an enchanting spell over people, filling their heads with images of lunches on the Left Bank, strolls by the Seine, or the glittering spectacle that is the Eiffel tower.
Situated in the heart of Paris, Notre Dame (which means “Our Lady” in French) was viewed as an architectural marvel, easily making it one of the world’s most revered buildings in the world.
Notre Dame Today
In April 2019, the Cathedral was swallowed by flames as onlookers watched the horrific scene taking place right before their very eyes. The rest of the world joined the people of Paris to mourn the irreversible damage to the legendary building.
The bell towers and one of the stained-glass Rose Windows seemed to have survived the fire. Made famous by Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, the two towers continue to stand. Despite the recent tragedies, Paris rose above it all. Landing on its feet, it continues to prove itself as the most romantic city in the world.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa Then
Italy is known around the world for its many famous locations. One of the more notable among these locations is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Construction first began in 1173, but it was only finished in the year 1372. This freestanding bell tower stands at a height of 183.3 feet and is made of marble and stone all through. Although viewing it presently there seems to be a purposefulness to the tilt of the tower, it was actually imprinted by an accident caused by an inadequate foundation placed before the construction of the iconic tower.
The lean of the tilt is a danger to the general public and the surrounding area even though it appears to be fun to take pictures of the tower and the image seems to be holding up. It might tear up the ground at its base, if it goes down any further in the direction it is leaning, causing more damage eventually.
The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Today
Efforts began to be made in 1993 to lessen the angle of the lean. Over the course of twenty years, using hundreds of tons of lead counterweights, skilled engineers were able to shave an acute amazing 17 inches from the lean in the famous bell tower.
The head of the international committee that monitored the tilt, Nunziante Squeglia, stated: “while the progressive recovery of the tilt is great news of general interest, the total health of basic structure is the more, of huge importance."
Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, is both a fast-paced cosmopolitan and a beautiful touristic gem. For years, the place has been fantasized about in everyone's dreams as the perfect getaway destination. The island offers fine dining, art museums, breathtaking beaches, historic monuments, and bike paths.
So, relax, feel the warm breeze on your skin, borrow a surfboard, and enjoy the gentle strumming of a ukulele, all on this one-of-a-kind island.
Sadly, Honolulu became different than what we used to know. It is not the island paradise the tourists get to see in pictures, and a lot of its nature has been replaced by urban spaces. The place is dealing with high crime levels and drug problems.
Also, the city has a large homeless population. When visiting it is important to keep in mind that there have been reports of tourists being mistreated by the locals.
Santorini Island Then
When people think of Greece, they are really thinking about the island of Santorini, with its iconic white buildings, lovely black sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters. The island offers first-class accommodations and gourmet restaurants and the chance to hike up a volcano on the Fira trail and capture the spectacular sunset.
It didn't take long for the island to become a destination for weddings and families, and travelers from all over the world. Sadly, this has changed the island, and not in a good way.
Santorini Island Today
Your stay on the island may be a dream, but the high price for accommodations and other services is a bit of a nightmare. Driving on the island may allow you the freedom to have adventures but try not to be too free.
The island roads are notoriously narrow, and driving on them, especially at night during tourist season, can be dangerous even when taking a taxi.
Great Wall of China Then
The Great Wall of China has been named one of the traditional “seven wonders of the world” and is roughly 13,000 miles long, although different surveys have come back with different lengths. The wall stretches in an east-to-west direction across the original borders of China and is known for its great length and fortifications.
Although the myth that it can be seen from space has been disproved, it is still an architectural marvel and an amazing place for any adventurous tourist to visit. However, too many tourists over the years have impacted the place.
Great Wall of China Today
If you decide to visit, you will not be the only one who knows that the wall is great. You will have to share the narrow walkways with many other tourists, some of which litter or even deface the wall with graffiti.
This is an especially big problem in the most frequently visited section in Badaling. The wall there may not be as clean or impressive as you’ve been led to expect.
Copacabana Beach Then
For years, Copacabana Beach in Brazil was considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are the mountains in the distance, a sandy promenade, and deep blue waters.
The strand is lined with beach kiosks if you get hungry after your swimming and sunbathing, and all of this is located in the middle of the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro. It is truly a perfect getaway to relax and get into the Bossa Nova beat. It is almost too good to be true, and over the years, that's actually what the place turned out to be.
Copacabana Beach Today
While lounging on this particular beach, it is important not to get too relaxed, because the neighborhoods in the area have a dodgy reputation. Also, chilling when there are SO MANY people around is pretty hard.
Rio de Janeiro is known for gangs and crime, and it is important to keep an eye on your valuables and stay safe.
There once was a time when everything about the city of Venice was like walking through a lovely dream. Beautiful canals, breathtaking buildings, and amazing food. The city is rich with history and you could walk around and feel like the star of an Italian film from the 1960s.
Venice has something for everyone, classic opera houses, authentic Italian food, and high-end shopping in the world-famous Piazza San Marco.
That 'something for everyone' approach is what ultimately changed the city so much. Like most modern cities, Venice has its share of traffic jams. However, these take place in the water and not on the road. Meaning your romantic gondola ride may quire literally bump into water taxis, other gondolas, or even ambulances.
Also, the canals while lovely, have a bit of an odor problem, especially in the sweaty crowded tourist season. Making your trip along the water memorable in a different way than you may have expected.
The Taj Mahal Then
The Taj Mahal is another wonder of the world and is known both for its incredible architecture and the story behind its construction. The monument was commissioned by emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 in honor of his beloved late wife.
Locals say the palace changes colors with the different times of the day according to the light from the sun and the moon, like the moods of the emperor’s late queen.
The Taj Mahal Today
Due to its worldwide fame, the Taj Mahal is often overrun by tourists. Prepare yourself for massive lines, and make sure not to plan your visit for a Friday, because the monument is closed on that day.
Also, because this region of India is extremely polluted, thick smog which reduces visibility is a common occurrence and some say that the building is also suffering the effects of pollution.
The Trevi Fountain Then
The Trevi Fountain, situated in the heart of Rome, is 86 feet high and 161.3 feet wide. This fountain, from the Baroque era, is one of the most famous fountains in the world and has appeared in countless films.
It is decorated with Greek gods, Triton’s horses, shells, and much more, and is an amazing piece of art. While there, it is customary to throw a coin into the fountain over your left shoulder for good luck.
The Trevi Fountain Today
Who doesn't feel like they could use a little luck? This is why you can hardly see the fountain today through the huge crowd. Although the fountain is still a beautiful place, people who have been there all agree that the huge crowds make the visit less enjoyable.
The recommendation is to go either very early in the morning or late at night. If you are an early riser you can beat the crowds and at night the fountain is hopefully less crowded and if not, at least you get to see it all lit up.
The Pyramids of Giza Then
The breathtaking Pyramids of Giza are another famous mystery. They were built to stand the test of time and are holding up incredibly as one of the last largely intact wonders of the ancient world.
The pyramids served as tombs for Egyptian rulers and are filled with decorations, depicting the rich Egyptian culture, their way of life, and their beliefs about death.
The Pyramids of Giza Today
The mysteries surrounding the pyramids these days are cloaked behind tourists, traffic, and pollution and you will be sure to see your fair share of all three on your visit there. Taxi drivers have been known to take advantage of tourists trying to get to the pyramids, so make sure to set your fare before accepting a ride.
Locals aggressively selling souvenirs and other trinkets are also known to make the experience less pleasant for travelers and ruin the ancient experience.
The Stonehenge Then
Who hasn’t wondered about the origins of the mysterious and magnificent Stonehenge? This remarkable United Kingdom landmark raises some fascinating questions.
Everyone is dying to know if it was meant to be a place to crown kings, a mechanism to track time, or maybe the site of strange rituals. The place is a lot more industrialized nowadays.
The Stonehenge Today
The truth may be out there, but you are not the only one looking for it, as your fellow tourists can attest. The area is known for its outrageous traffic jams and exorbitant parking prices.
The worst part is that you can’t even see the stones up close, you only have access to a designated path that goes around them. Plus, the stones have been worked on and somewhat restored over the years due to instability. This means that some parts of the monument aren't even as ancient as you might think. That’s no way to solve a mystery.
The Colosseum Today
You may be expecting something out of the movie “Gladiator”, but the truth is that the amphitheater is not in great condition, with large parts destroyed and decayed.
This symbol of Rome has become quite a tourist attraction, known for its long lines and Disneyland-like photo ops with people dressed up in costumes of ancient Rome offering to pose with you for the measly price of €20.
Central Park Then
New York City is known for its busy sidewalks, pizza, yellow taxis, and of course, no visit to the Big Apple would be complete without an outing in Central Park. This enormous urban park features shops, gardens, monuments, fountains, an ice rink in the winter, and even an entire zoo.
The park offers a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the city and if you’re lucky you may even spot a celebrity jogger. Films and TV shows over the years have made this place look like a pastoral place to relax in, but the reality is now different.
Central Park Today
Although the park is enormous it is often packed with tourists, joggers, cyclists, and office workers on their lunch breaks. This makes the place less than ideal for a relaxing picnic.
So, remember not to load up on those sodas or iced coffees, because the lines for the restrooms can be quite long.
Machu Picchu Then
The ruins of Machu Picchu are the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. This Incan citadel is an architectural wonder nestled in the slopes of the Andes amongst the Amazonian jungle.
Visitors can put their muscles to the test and climb the mountain peak or take a local Cusco train right to the top. The place is rich with history and old traditions, but it has suffered its share from heavy tourism.
Machu Picchu Today
Machu Picchu has remained in great condition for centuries, but that may soon change due to massive tourism and economic and environmental issues.
The United Nations report that trash left by visitors is becoming a real problem, meaning your hike through the mountains may become a smelly and dirty affair. Nobody wants to hike in the trash.
Yosemite National Park Then
Yosemite National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is the perfect place for hiking and camping. The park is known for stunning vistas, amazing waterfalls, and ancient sequoia trees of enormous size.
This is truly a wonderful place to get away from it all, rock climb, picnic, go for a horseback ride or just sit around and absorb the beauty of nature. Well, at least it used to be.
Yosemite National Park Today
When arriving at the park in the summer, expect two to three-hour delays just to enter the valley. Even worse, the sheer number of tourists has unfortunately caused habitat loss and damaged the scenery.
If you decide to go after the summer peak to avoid all those people, the trails are worn from overuse with park personnel not yet able to clean everything up. And with controlled forest burning taking place around the reserve, you may be in for a smoky hike.
Christ the Redeemer Then
The Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was constructed between 1922 and 1931. The design was created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with French engineer Albert Caquot. Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida fashioned the face.
The statue weighs 635 metric tons and is located at the peak of the 700-meter or 2,300 ft Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Christ the Redeemer Today
The statue has become a symbol of Christianity around the world, as well as a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
More work on the statue and its environs was conducted in 2003 and early 2010. In 2003, a set of escalators, walkways, and elevators were installed to facilitate access to the platform surrounding the statue.
St. Peter's Basilica Then
Saint Peter's Basilica is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City, the papal enclave that is within the city of Rome.
It was initially planned by Pope Nicholas V and then Pope Julius II to replace the aging Old St. Peter's Basilica, which was built in the 4th century by Roman emperor Constantine the Great.
St. Peter's Basilica Today
The church is considered the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world by interior measure.
This impressive landmark enjoys the visit of approximately 5 million tourists a year.
Gardens of Versailles Then
The Gardens of Versailles occupy part of what was once the Domaine royal de Versailles, the royal demesne of the château of Versailles. The garden is situated to the west of the palace with its sophisticated design covering some 800 hectares of land.
Pictured here is the famous fountain of the garden, taken in 1895.
Gardens of Versailles Today
Along with the thoroughly manicured lawns and elaborate sculptures, there are the fountains, which are located throughout the garden. Dating from the time of Louis XIV and still using much of the same network of hydraulics as was used during the Ancien Régime, the fountains contribute to making the gardens of Versailles unique.
In 1979, the gardens along with the château were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to their cultural importance during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Lord Murugan Statue Then
Lord Murugan Statue is the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia and the third-tallest statue of a Hindu deity in the world. The first two are Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue in Indonesia and Kailashnath Mahadev Statue in Nepal.
It is also the tallest statue in Malaysia at 43 meters, or 140 ft, in height.
Lord Murugan Statue Today
Every year, thousands of devotees from Tamil Nadu & Sri Lanka visit this temple to pay their tributes to the deity on the auspicious day of Thaipusam according to the Tamil Calendar.
It is located at the Sri Murugan Perumal Kovil at the foot of Batu Caves. The construction took 350 tons of Steel bars, 1,550 cubic meters of Concrete, and 300 liters of gold paint to build this statue.
Arc de Triomphe Then
The Triumphal Arch of the Star or more commonly known as the 'Arc de Triomphe' is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, France.
The Arc de Triomphe honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.
Arc de Triomphe Today
Paris's Arc de Triomphe was the tallest triumphal arch until the completion of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City in 1938, which is 67 meters, or 220 ft, high.
A ceremony is held at the Tomb every 11 November on the anniversary of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which was signed by the Entente Powers and Germany in 1918.
Angkor Wat Then
Translated to English, Angkor Wat means the 'Temple City' and it is a temple complex in northwest Cambodia. A national symbol and sacred site of Cambodian Buddhism, the complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a significant tourist destination.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the world by land area, measuring 163 hectares which is more than three times the size of the Vatican City.
Angkor Wat Today
As one of the best-preserved temples at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious center since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture.
It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists in Cambodia and around the world, having played a major role in converting Cambodia into a Buddhist nation.
The Sydney Opera House Then
This site is one of Australia's top tourist attractions and one of the world's most well-known buildings. The Sydney Opera House was formally opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia on 20 October 1973, with a large crowd in attendance.
It is often regarded as one of the world's most famous and distinctive buildings and a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. This photo was taken in 1969.
The Sydney Opera House Today
The Opera house is located on the banks of the Sydney Harbour. It's also known as one of the busiest performing arts venues in the world.
On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.