They are huge, steeped in history and arouse (much) interest: here are the most visited tourist monuments in the world. And France is well represented!
We immediately think of them when we project ourselves on our journey, and they embody the history of their territory: the monuments. They are for this reason very popular with tourists, who are millions every year to travel to visit them. Here are the ten most popular in terms of attendance in ascending order in 2018 (1), the reference year for the study, as it precedes the closing periods after the Covid-19 pandemic.
World War II Memorial (Washington, USA)
Annual visitors: 4.7 million
Opened to the public in 2004 in National Mall Park in Washington DC, this monument is located on a 59-acre esplanade that also houses the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. As the name suggests, it pays homage to the 16 million American soldiers who served during World War II. The monument consists of 56 memorial columns (one per US state and territory) and two triumphal arches arranged in a circle around a fountain. The memorial is free and open 24 hours a day.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Washington, USA)
Annual visitors: 4.7 million
With an almost identical number of visitors and an obvious geographical proximity to the Second World War Memorial (the monument is located in Constitution Gardens, a 200,000 square meter park next to the National Mall), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is another monument dedicated to American soldiers, who died during the Vietnam War. It consists of three different monuments: a black granite wall bearing the names of about 58,000 soldiers killed during the conflict, the statue of the three soldiers representing three bronze sculptures, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial dedicated to American women. who participated in the conflict.
Peterhof Palace (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Annual visitors: 5.2 million
Russia is often associated with the Basilica of the Blessed Cathedral and Red Square (located in Moscow), but it was the Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg that attracted the most visitors to the country in 2018, or about 5.2 million. Built in 1723 “stone court(referring to its patron Peter the Great, 1st Emperor of Russia from the end of the 17th to the beginning of the 18th century) draws its inspiration from the Palace of Versailles. It has two gardens, a lower one of 102 acres and an upper one of 15 acres, a large waterfall and 176 fountains. A true gem of history that had to be rebuilt after World War II due to the numerous German bombings for which it was the target.
Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)
Annual visitors: 6.2 million
It needs no introduction: the Eiffel Tower is the cultural symbol of France abroad. Its iron construction completed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel for the Paris World’s Fair culminates in 312 meters, giving it the title of the tallest monument in the world until 1930 and the inauguration of the Chrysler Building in New York. If it attracted nearly 6.2 million visitors in 2018, it has accumulated nearly 300 million since the completion of its construction.
Parthenon (Athens, Greece)
Annual visitors: 7.2 million
The Athens Parthenon is located in the Acropolis, the citadel built on the upper part of the capital and served in the time of ancient Greece as a defensive position in case of a hostile attack. Built in the 6th century BC. AD, the marble monument is dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom and warlike strategy. The Parthenon has been largely looted and degraded throughout history and is a source of architectural inspiration around the world.
Taj Mahal (Agra, India)
Annual visitors: 7.5 million
Like the Eiffel Tower in France, the Taj Mahal is a life-size postcard from India. Solid marble, it rises to 73 meters and rests on a square base. Four minarets surround this mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The mix of Indian, Ottoman and Persian architectural styles makes it a unique monument in the world.
Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
Annual visitors: 7.7 million
Located in the center of Rome, this thousand-year-old amphitheater is one of the last witnesses to the transition of the Roman Empire. Once used for wildlife and gladiator fights, the Colosseum is now a very popular tourist attraction in the Eternal City, but suffers from overcrowding: the building is regularly subject to renovation.
Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC, USA)
Annual visitors: 7.8 million
Back to the United States and to Washington DC for this monument: Lincoln Memorial, a building built in honor of the country’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. 36 marble columns surround a building with a six-meter-high statue of the Republican president. Like nearby memorials, Lincoln’s is considered a national memorial by the United States Congress.
Palace of Versailles (Versailles, France)
Annual visitors: 8.1 million
The Palace of Versailles and its classical architecture continue to attract the attention of tourists from all over the world. It must be said that it has arguments: 64,110 square meters of surface area, 3000 rooms and more than 2000 windows as well as an area with an area of 660 hectares. Stunning figures and at the height of the palace, the main residence of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.
The Forbidden City (Beijing, China)
Annual visitors: 17 mio
It has no more prohibition than the name, and it far surpasses the works cited above: The Forbidden City in Beijing is the most visited monument in the world and reminds us of the extent to which the figures for tourism, on the scale of China, surpass everything imaginable. The walls of the Imperial Palace, built in the 15th century, have for six centuries welcomed no less than 24 emperors from the Chinese imperial Ming and Qing dynasties. According to Chinese authorities, nearly 100 million tourists have visited part of the 72-hectare area since 2012.
(1) Method: this ranking comes from a survey conducted in 2019 by the online statistical data portal Statista. This infographic is based on figures from 2018 from national ministries of culture.