Eiffel Tower

Most Photographed Places on Earth


With digital cameras and smart phones becoming increasingly popular in the modern world, and online photo storage now common, it seems that people are taking more snaps than ever. Whether photographing friends, loved-ones, or even themselves, the planet today is a more photographed place than ever before. And certain parts of that planet tend to be photographed more than others; famous sights, sports stadiums and scenic views, for instance. Here’s a look at the most photographed places on Earth, locales where you are bound to find yourself photographing from every possible angle.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square
(Image by Ian Muttoo on Flickr)

The United Kingdom has more cameras per capita than any other country, and most photographed location on this island nation is London’s Trafalgar Square. Built by Charles Barry in the 1840s to commemorate Britain’s naval victory over the combined French and Spanish fleets just 25 years earlier, this is often considered to be the very heart of London, with many taxi drivers measuring distances to other destinations from this reference point. With the National Gallery on the square’s north side, the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields to the east, and Big Ben visible from the south, there are plenty of photo opportunities available here. Yet perhaps the most iconic structure in and around Trafalgar Square is Nelson’s Column, a 169 foot monument to Admiral Horatio Nelson, who took charge of, and died in, the Battle of Trafalgar. The square is a popular meeting place for Londoners of all persuasions, and has also hosted many demonstrations and protests during its 170 year history, perhaps most notably against apartheid South Africa. In 1990, however, the square erupted into violence as a protest against the hated Poll Tax turned into a full-scale riot. These days, the square tends to be a more peaceful place, with locals and tourists alike congregating here to relax, head off to nearby entertainment districts, and, of course, to take photographs.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower
(Image by alecea on Flickr)

Across the English Channel, and one of the most iconic structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower soars above the Paris skyline to the tune of 1,063 feet. This iron lattice tower, designed by famed engineer Gustave Eiffel, was originally built to announce the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, and was planned to stand for a mere 20 years. The Eiffel Tower has long surpassed this estimate, in part due to the marvellous engineering accomplishment of Eiffel himself, but primarily due to its enduring popularity. Despite being a much loved monument today, and visited by almost 7 million tourists each year, when first erected the Tower was loathed by large sections of the French public. The French author Guy de Maupassant even remarked that the only place in Paris he could go to escape the sight of the Eiffel Tower was up the Eiffel Tower itself! The history of the tower has not been straight-forward, however, infamous con-man Victor Lustig twice sold the building for scrap to unwitting, and gullible, metal dealers in the 1920s. Some of the very best vantage points for taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower include from the Trocadero across the River Seine, on the nearby Champ De Mars, or from the viewing platform of Tour Montparnasse. Photographs taken from the Eiffel Tower itself also offer panoramic views across the Paris rooftops all the way to some of the French capital’s other landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Couer and the Pantheon. It is fitting that the world’s most photographed landmark should be located in the birthplace of photography, Paris.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge
(Image by capnvnl on Flickr)

Though the Eiffel Tower offers an impressive towering presence, it is nothing compared to the scale of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The most photographed, and perhaps most beautiful, bridge in the world, this orange vermillion structure was built using over 10 times as much iron as France’s famous monument. Completed in 1937, the bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County, and is used by over 91,000 commuters a day. Rather infamously, the Golden Gate is known as the most popular suicide spot in the world, with over 1200 victims jumping over the railings and into San Francisco Bay since it opened. Though it is much photographed from locations such as The Presidio or Battery Spencer, San Francisco weather is notoriously unpredictable, and frequently blankets the bridge in thick, dense fog, making much of it invisible to sightseers. Still, the weather in this beautiful corner of California holds off enough to make this one of America’s most photographed, and best loved, structures.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square
(Image by numb3r on Flickr)

Half way across the globe yet another public square in a large capital city makes a strong claim to be the most photographed location on earth. Though Tiananmen Square is most known outside China for the protests, and subsequent bloody massacre, that took place there in 1989, its history dates back over 360 years. The square is named after the Tiananmen Gate, the entrance to the Forbidden City, that sits on its northern side, and has been enlarged four times, most recently in 1958, since it was first built in 1651. The gate, which boasts a large portrait of Chairman Mao draped over its red facade, is the most photographed structure on the square, though Mao’s Mausoleum, a drab 1970s building made from Sichuan granite, also makes a strong claim for that title, too. Unlike Trafalgar Square, which attracts a mix of people, Tiananmen Square is seen as too large, too plain and too windswept to be much other than a tourist attraction or a site for official state ceremonies. At 440,000 metres squared, big enough to house 160 American Football fields, it is easy to see why.

With the growth in camera ownership showing no signs of slowing down across the world, who knows where the most photographed locations on earth will be in ten years time? Maybe locations from Africa, such as Table Top Mountain, or even icons from South America, such as Christ the Redeemer in Rio, will eventually overtake the likes of the Eiffel Tower.

Date posted: 24th August, 2011

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