Interest Area Highlight: Tourist Attractions

Ah, tourists.

Crowds of people wearing shorts and loose-fitting button-up shirts, snapping photos from giant cameras that hang around their necks, straining to hear the tour guide at the front of the group over the noise of so many people saying their “ooh”s and “aah”s at a particular monument, painting, historic building, or natural wonder.

Crowd in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

With technology like the Internet and GPS-enabled smartphones, the word is getting smaller every day.  And with the relative ease of modern travel (ignoring the lines and annoyances of airport security checks), jet-setting to the other side of the globe has become wildly popular for those who can afford it.

Tourism is a mixed bag: on the one hand, travel encourages knowledge and acceptance of other cultures, people, and societies, leading to greater understanding of humanity as a whole.

On the other hand, tourists create massive crowds, drive up the cost of living for locals, and sometimes even contribute to the breakdown of historical monuments.

Either way, with all of the wonders that our world and its many different cultures have to offer, tourism is here to stay.  Travel may not be for everyone, but for those who love it, there are so many truly awesome sights to see.

The Sphinx of Giza, an ancient Egyptian sculpture formed of a single block of stone, was built around 2500 BCE, which makes it 4,500 years old.  The Sphinx is a famous creature in mythology, best known for its role in the tale of Oedipus with the Riddle of the Sphinx.

Of course, not all tourist attractions are man-made:

The Niagara Falls drain Lake Erie into Lake Ontario and form part of the border between Canada and the United States.  Their fame is due to their great size and capacity — on average, almost 4 million cubic feet of water falls over the edge per minute!

 

Looking at maps is a favorite tourist pastime.

 

Many of the longest-lasting and most impressive physical contributions that people have left behind are buildings or other large structures.  The Amazing Architecture studylist showcases some of these huge works of art.

The Taj Mahal was built by an Emperor of India for his favorite wife and queen, which is why it is said to be the concrete form for the abstract concept of love.

The beautiful building is also called the jewel of India, and is visited by two to four million people each year.

 

If you’re looking for an experience not matched in kind or quality by anything else in the world, the Ice Hotel might be the destination for you.

The entire structure is made of ice and snow, and must be rebuilt in sub-freezing temperatures every year.

 

The Colosseum was designed to impress and attract notice, with its huge seating capacity, elaborate arches, and large oval arena for shows and entertainment.

Its opening ceremony consisted of one hundred days of fights, shows, and exotic animal hunts.

 

There are so many incredible sights to see on our little blue planet, and many of us will join the ranks of the camera-toting, local-language-misunderstanding, fanny-pack-wearing tourist throngs at some point in our lives as we attempt to broaden our horizons and gain knowledge of more than just our home corner of the world.

And even if you look silly, seeing the world is worth it.

Are there tourist attractions in your city?  What famous spots have you visited?  Have you seen any recent articles about tourist attractions that you’d like to see as a Vocablet?  Let us know in the comments!

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