10 Landmarks I Love in the U.S. and Europe

posted by Sharon April 20, 2019 39 Comments
Colosseum Rome

The landmarks we love are available for us to visit any time and we may take that for granted. But we’ve been reminded of just how fragile they can be, even when they are built to last for centuries. This week we watched helpless as fire engulfed Notre Dame in Paris. The heavy steeple crumbled, and the roof made of venerable timber fell victim to the flames. A firefighter later wrote that as he battled the fire with tears in his eyes — from emotion as well as smoke — he knew that the famous twin towers were less than an hour from falling. The danger is over for now, the fire is out, and the cathedral is damaged but not destroyed. And now it will be repaired.

This prompted me to think about some of my favorite landmarks. Some are well known and some may not be as familiar. I’ve enjoyed visiting all of them. These landmarks allow us to glimpse history, to stand where so many have stood, to remember generations of people who’ve gone before. And I hope these will remain in our world for generations to come. I offer my list in hopes that it will inspire you to make your own — and travel sooner rather than later, because there’s no guarantee they will grace our world forever.

Westminster Abbey

In honor of Notre Dame, I’ll start with another cathedral.  Westminster Abbey is the church of royalty. The present abbey dates from 1245, though a church has been on the property since 1066. The coronation of every English monarch has taken place here since the founding of the church. The last was Queen Elizabeth’s in 1953.

No photos are allowed inside, but here’s a glimpse of the outside. The detail of the architecture is astounding.

Westminster Abbey LondonWestminster Abbey LondonWestminster Abbey London

The Lincoln Memorial

Not only is this a memorial anchoring one end of the Washington DC Mall, but it is also the scene of historic events. Martin Luther King stood on the steps and gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Inspired by ancient Greek Temples, the design features 36 columns to represent the states in the US at the time of Lincoln’s death. As you draw closer, you will glimpse the great man seated in his chair. He sits looking out on the Mall of the government he worked so hard to preserve during the Civil War.Lincoln Memorial Washington MallLincoln Memorial Washington MallWashington DC Lincoln Memorial

The Brandenburg Gate

Berlin Brandenburg GateThe Brandenburg Gate towers above the center of Berlin. When you think of this city, this is likely the image that comes to mind. It dates from 1791 and was modeled on the Acropolis in Athens. In recent history, the gate was damaged during World War II, then caught in no man’s land when the Berlin Wall went up. The wall was literally a few feet behind the gate, blocking passage. For years the historic gate stood visible but abandoned. Now it’s repaired and open once again to the public. Berlin Brandenburg GateBerlin Brandenburg GateThe Charles Bridge in Prague

The Charles Bridge carries a history involving flood after flood, battles, beheadings, and statues of saints. It is the oldest bridge across the Vltava River in Prague and was once the only connection between the Old Town on one side of the river with the Castle on the other side. This gave the bridge great significance for centuries. Today it is a prime place to visit in Prague. Charles Bridge Prague

Prague Charles Bridge

Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna

This UNESCO palace was for many years home to Austria’s Imperial family. Generations lived here, including Emperor Franz Joseph and his beloved wife, Empress “Sisi.” Visitors to this palace included young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Napoleon Bonaparte. Marie Antoinette of Versailles fame spent her childhood here. The formal gardens of the palace and the extensive grounds can keep you busy exploring for an entire day.Schonbrunn PalaceSchonbrunn PalaceWe had the privilege of attending a concert in the evening in the Great Gallery, where Mozart gave a concert when he was only six years old.  The chandeliers contain more than 1,000 bulbs, but the main attraction here is the ceiling that’s painted with scenes of Austria’s glorious history.Schonbrunn PalaceThe Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was given by the people of France to the United States. She has become a universal symbol of freedom. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886. My great-grandparents came to the U.S. from Germany in the late 1800s and would have seen this landmark as they sailed into New York Harbor to begin a new life.

Statue of Liberty New York

Statue of Liberty New YorkStatue of Liberty New York

The Roman Colosseum

Colosseum Rome

The Colosseum, a world landmark, sits in the middle of Rome, visited by masses of people year round. Construction started in AD 70 and finished about 20 years later. Today, this grand structure is officially a ruin. Stones, bronze, and bricks were “borrowed” through the years, leaving the Colosseum without some of the top level. The roof over the gladiator dressing area is long gone. The ruined nature of the Colosseum  does nothing to discourage visitors but only adds to the romance and intrigue.Colosseum Rome

Colosseum Rome

The Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge opened in May, 1937 after taking 4 years to build. The roadway deck is held up by metal cables suspended from curving main cables draped over the two red metal pillars that give the bridge its recognizable outline. It has two towers weighing approximately 44,000 tons. I’ve stood on the bridge many times, and I feel it’s secure, but its construction is a marvel that makes some people nervous. I never miss a chance to enjoy this landmark when I’m in San Francisco.  San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

The Menin Gate in Belgium Ypres Ieper Menin Gate Belgium

Belgium suffered invasion during both World War I and World War II. One landmark stands out from my visits to this lovely country. The Menin Gate, at the entrance to the town of Ypres, is a war memorial to the British troops who died near here in WWI. The names lining the walls are those soldiers who remain lost in the fields. Bodies are still being found when the fields are plowed or construction begins. If a body is identified, the soldier is given a proper burial in a cemetery, and the name is then removed from this wall of the missing. Ypres Ieper Menin Gate Belgium

The Last Post ceremony takes place every evening at 8:00 p.m. at the Menin Gate. The tradition started in 1928 and has continued every evening except when the Germans occupied Ypres in WWII. Buglers from the Fire Brigade play and families carry flags to honor the dead.  The ceremony is short but moving. This large crowd remained in total, respectful silence. The Menin Gate reminds us a century after the end of the War to End All Wars that we still struggle to find peace.Ypres Menin Gate Belgium

The Eiffel Tower

This landmark represents Paris, along with Notre Dame, and is immediately recognizable all over the world. I’ve enjoyed exploring the Eiffel Tower from the two levels you can reach by elevator or stairs.  Paris Eiffel Tower

The design is complicated and intricate, far more than it appears from a distance. The metal is held together with more than 2 million rivets. These metal pieces, each so small, work together to hold up the massive structure. And it’s been standing since 1889. Paris Eiffel Tower

Stories from World War II claim that explosives were set around the Eiffel Tower and that Adolf Hitler ordered it to be blown up. Whether or not that’s true (we will probably never know), the Iron Lady is a landmark seen from all over central Paris. Here’s to many more years of this iconic tower standing tall. Eiffel Tower Paris

How about you? Have a visited a landmark that stands out in your mind? Is there someplace you hope to visit?

Linking up with Image-in-ing, The Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Weekend Wanderlust, Faraway Files, Wanderful Wednesday, Feet Do Travel, My Corner of the World, Monday Escapes, and Weekend Travel Inspiration.

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39 Comments

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Patrick Weseman April 20, 2019 at 5:50 pm

The Golden Gate Bridge is in my backyard. One of the coolest things I have ever done is a Tower Tour of the bridge. Going up to the top of the tour was so very cool.

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Tamar A Strauss-Benjamin April 21, 2019 at 7:18 pm

I hope to see more of these one day!

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rupam { xhobdo } April 21, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Beautiful post and pics.

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April April 22, 2019 at 5:36 am

What a fun post! I loved the 10 landmarks you chose, and I loved how you show three different viewpoints of each one. I’ve only seen one of these places so far. I need to travel more, I guess. 🙂

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Pat April 22, 2019 at 7:47 am

Wonderful images of so many iconic sights!

I lived in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, so those will always be my NYC favorites. Now that I live in Colorado natural sights like the Maroon Bells mountains and Mt Evans are favorites

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Carol April 22, 2019 at 8:53 am

I found your post very moving as each landmark was explained and explored. Each shows man’s resiliency after war and tragedy. Hope rises agin.

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup April 22, 2019 at 9:01 am

Grand and glorious landmarks you’ve pictured here. Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/04/springtime-is-glorious.html

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Eileen Wise April 22, 2019 at 10:07 am

Hello, beautiful landmarks and photos. Some I have seen and some I will probably never see. So thanks for sharing your photos and post.
Enjoy your day, have a great new week!

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Lady Fi April 22, 2019 at 10:24 am

Fabulous landmarks – great photos!

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Mother of 3 April 22, 2019 at 11:44 am

The Eiffel Tower is definitely one of my favorites and we have plans to go see Mount Rushmore this year.

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Sandra April 22, 2019 at 10:03 pm

Great list of landmarks! Visiting the Statue of Liberty has been my dream for years.
#MondayEscapes

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klara April 23, 2019 at 5:36 am

impressive collection of landmarks.

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Photo Cache April 23, 2019 at 10:33 am

Scored 3/10, it’s bad. I love to see the rest of the landmarks I haven’t seen yet. Great post.

WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

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Clare - Flip flops or Wellies April 23, 2019 at 12:21 pm

What a great selection, they really are quite inspiring. I am lucky enough to have been to most of these but have a few to go, I’ve never been to Prague so need to plan that one day. #MondayEscapes

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Junieper/jesh April 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Your blog theme is perfect for these big captures! Love the San Fran bridge in clouds, and the profile to the left of the statue of liberty, and the Abbey. Many thanks for your interesting views of these well known cities for All Seasons!
Have a whole list of cities I still like to see – Barcelona, Zagreb, Prague, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Rome, Naples, Moscow, Melbourne, Shanghai

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William Kendall April 24, 2019 at 7:25 am

I’ve never been to any of these, but I’d love to see them all someday.

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Mandy April 24, 2019 at 7:49 am

Fantastic photos of some amazing places! Which has been your favorite to visit?

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Kelly Anne Rothaermel April 25, 2019 at 5:17 am

Great collection of landmarks! Have a wonderful week.
http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-lamb-of-god.html

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Jill April 25, 2019 at 6:42 am

I haven’t been to all of these landmarks but of the ones I’ve been to they are certainly my favorites. When we took my (then) teenagers to London we all picked something we wanted to see and I picked Westminster Abbey. I definitely wanted to see it but I certainly never thought I would fall in love with it so much. Definitely on my list to go back to!

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Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels April 25, 2019 at 10:01 am

I’ve recently visited Berlin and liked the Brandenburg gate too:) I think Eiffel tower would be on my list too, and Big Ben and ..have to think about the rest:) #farawayfiles

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My Corner of the World April 25, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Great choices, Your link is a great addition to the ‘My Corner of the World’ link up!

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Esther April 25, 2019 at 10:42 pm

I love your picks! It really made me think which ones I love best. For me, it’s definitely the two historical windmills I live close to, as well as the Dom in Utrecht. But then it gets hard. I guess I’d have to list The Brooklyn Bridge, The Museum of Musical instruments in Brussels, Table Mountain in Cape Town, Sydney Opera House, the Haja Sophia in Istanbul… oh, it’s hard to choose!!
#FeetDoTravel

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Shona Grant April 25, 2019 at 11:03 pm

There are such wonderful stories behind all of these landmarks, Sharon. I’ll be visiting Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna next month. I’m very much looking forward to that. Belgium is still on my list and, for all of my trips to the USA, I haven’t been to DC yet so Lincoln is still on the list. I felt very nostalgic reading this. 🙂

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Rhonda Albom April 27, 2019 at 8:16 pm

You’ve picked some great classic landmarks. They all stand out to me. I guess that’s a landmark’s purpose. What I find incredible is the amount of time and effort spent creating these places. When I hear the amount of material, the number of people, and how many years it took to create these places, I am always impressed.

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Linda (LD Holland) April 28, 2019 at 10:07 am

What a great set of landmarks you have chosen. I have visited all but the Brandenburg Gate and the Menin Gate. Starting with Westminster Abbey is a great tribute to Notre Dame. So much history in each of these spots. And such beautiful structures.

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Obligatory Traveler April 28, 2019 at 10:14 am

Lovely post. I’ve only seen a few of these in person. I love the look of that palace in Vienna. It looks straight from Beauty and The Beast. #WeekendWanderlust

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Brittany April 28, 2019 at 10:36 am

What beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!

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Jonny (daisythebus) April 28, 2019 at 11:21 am

I love the way that you have included the Menin Gate amongst these other much more famous landmarks. Nice! #FarawayFiles

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Jenn | By Land and Sea April 28, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Sharon this is such a great list! I’ve been to all of these except the Menin Gate and I fully agree – they are wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

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Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World April 29, 2019 at 5:30 am

It’s so true. You’ve got some iconic places on your list. I would add the Sydney Opera House, the Space Needle and St. Louis Arch off the top of my head. Thanks so much for sharing with #FarawayFiles. Cheers.

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Daisy - Dais Like These Family Travel Blog April 29, 2019 at 6:46 am

A great list, and simply amazing pictures of some wonderful landmarks. Personally I’d love to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, I love your picture with the mist, it looks magical!
Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

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Carrie Ann April 29, 2019 at 10:06 am

Love this list – you’ve included many of my favorite landmarks. I’m excited that we’ll be visiting the Brandenburg Gate this summer on my first trip to Berlin. So glad that it’s been repaired and reopened!

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Charlotte Jakobsen April 29, 2019 at 11:41 am

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several of these and they are just crazu beautiful! Great post☺

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Nicolas Stretchbery April 29, 2019 at 5:50 pm

We’ve been to all of these except Prague! Guess we’ll have to visit there next to check it off the list. Couldn’t agree more on this list – a wonderful post.

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Beth Kriebel April 30, 2019 at 1:36 am

These are priceless icons, what a collection you’ve assembled here! Happy to say I’ve visited seven of them and felt awestruck all over again reading your post. Beautiful photos to go along with the list, too. I also wrote about Notre Dame and why heritage matters, which sounds like the inspiration for your writing here as well. Thanks for sharing such a great list. #FarawayFiles

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Usha April 30, 2019 at 9:16 am

A great collection of landmarks and amazing photos. I agree we sometimes take things for granted. Thanks for sharing this.

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Emese April 30, 2019 at 12:37 pm

You put together a great list of landmarks, Sharon; and gorgeous photos! I love your first photo of the Eiffel Tower from below; great angle.

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Tracy May 2, 2019 at 1:48 am

I have been to all but the Menin Gate. Some great man made structures on the list. My favourite is probably the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Anna May 2, 2019 at 3:59 am

I haven´t been to The Lincoln Memorial and The Menin Gate! I guess my favorites are The Charles Bridge in Prague and Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna(although visited in December and haven´t seen those gorgeous blooms – looks even prettier on your photos) !!! #feetdotravel

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