Millions of people visit tourist destinations around the world. From the old wonder of the world that is Egypt’s grand pyramids to architectural wonders like the Golden Gate Bridge and Taj Mahal to natural sights like Utah’s Arches that span the landscape, there’s so much for travelers to take in and experience. And, if you plan your travels carefully, there’s also a lot to learn about each of the world’s most popular tourist spots.
However, while destinations like Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and Niagara Falls might be common places to visit, there’s actually an awful lot we don’t know about them. You might know that the Mona Lisa is actually protected behind glass at the Louvre — but what other secrets might be hidden under the museum’s glass pyramid? It’s well-known that the Tower of London holds the royal family’s crown jewels. But how many people know about the decades of murders that took place on its grounds?
And these are just a few examples of the shocking little details popular tourist spots are hiding. Some are even darker, while others are funny and unexpected.
If you’re looking to learn something new about some of the world’s most famous tourist destinations, check out these crazy secrets about renowned landmarks.
The Golden Gate Bridge Isn’t Gold — But It Also Isn’t Red
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in the world, is a huge suspension bridge that spans the bay between San Francisco and Marin County. And it’s pretty obvious that the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t actually gold. But unless you’ve visited the famous brilliantly-colored bridge up close and in person, you might not realize that it actually isn’t red either.
The bridge was supposed to be metallic in color. Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate Bridge’s architect, planned to construct the bridge out of steel, paint it with primer, and then finish the job with metallic-colored paint. However, when Morrow noticed that the bridge was already being painted with a reddish-orange primer, he fell in love with the color.
According to the story, Morrow decided to convince the Department of War that the Golden Gate Bridge shouldn’t be like any other bridge; it should keep its primer color. So, it was painted with primer alone. And the bridge’s iconic hue does have an official color: it’s International Orange.
6 Ravens Are the Only Thing Keeping the Tower of London Standing
The Tower of London is a popular tourist destination and one of London’s biggest attractions. People travel from all over the world to see the site in person because it’s both impressive and impressively creepy. Originally built by William the Conqueror as a royal residence, the Tower actually became a prison. Some of England’s most dangerous criminals were kept behind its walls until 1952.
But here’s something kind of crazy you’d never expect. According to legend, the Tower of London is protected by six ravens. If any of those six ravens ever leave the Tower, both the Tower itself and the Crown will collapse.
It sounds like nothing more than a superstition, but the caretakers of this landmark take it very, very seriously. The Tower of London actually cares for seven ravens that are kept right on the property — six ravens to fulfill the legend, and one extra just in case something happens to one of the ravens. The ravens aren’t allowed to leave the Tower, but they do enjoy a healthy, comfortable life!