The world’s most famous fake sights

10 fake sights for gullible tourists

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It happens that you come to see historic places – and then you find out they’re not historic at all. An ancient monument is built of modern concrete, and Mozart’s birthplace was the birthplace of anyone but Mozart. Gee.

So you don’t waste your time and money in vain, we’ve compiled a list of 10 fake sights. Do not let yourself be fooled!

The birthplace of Columbus.

More precisely, at least 10 “homelands.” In Spain and Italy, Genoa, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Savona and Cogolleto are considered to be the hometowns of the navigator. Not only that – several villages in England and France also claim that Columbus was their countryman.

The most popular option is Genoa, there is even a “Columbus house”. But here’s the trouble – this house was built in the 17th century. And the great Christopher was born at the end of the 15th. Another “Columbus house” in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria is really related to the discoverer of America, but in this house he lived at the age of 41 years and not for a long time.

And the real home of Columbus is still unknown.

“Columbus’s House” in Genoa


Stonehenge really was once an iconic ancient structure. The Celts built it for magical rituals and astronomical observations. But in 1958, Stonehenge was rebuilt from scratch. So little remains of the ancient and sacred site.

A photo of the construction of Stonehenge

To be fair, it is interesting to meet the sun at Stonehenge during the summer equinox – it rises exactly between the stones. But on this day there is such a crowd of tourists that all the romance of the moment is lost.

Juliet’s Balcony in Verona, Italy

Now, this is a double fake. First of all, Romeo and Juliet never existed – it’s a completely made-up story. If Shakespeare had any prototypes, we don’t know about them. Secondly, in the play the lovers communicated on the terrace, and the balcony appeared in the cinema. So there is no “that very spot” – it’s just a trick of the guides from Verona.

The Great Wall of China

The construction is really grandiose. The wall began to be built in the 3rd century BC to protect against nomads, but it was fragile and began to deteriorate during construction. Now the wall is mostly ruined, and the part where tourists are allowed is a new model. This section was rebuilt in 1984. So the monument is large-scale, but not historical in any way.

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Most of the Great Wall of China looks deplorable.

Cruiser “Aurora”.

To “cheat”, you don’t even need to go abroad. The famous cruiser “Aurora”, which stands on the Petrogradskaya embankment is practically a dummy. From the ship, which fought against Japan and Germany, remained only the radio room, market place and some parts of the engine room.

This is what the reconstructed “Cruiser Aurora” looks like today.

The original cruiser was sunk in the Gulf of Finland – during the Soviet times it was pillaged, and here and there in the villages you can find portholes or Aurora’s gangways instead of stairs.

The change occurred after the filming of the movie “Cruiser Aurora”. In 1980 the lower part of the hull completely rotted away, and in 1984 it was sent for repairs. A new ship was built at the Northern Shipyard and sent to Petrogradskaya Embankment, and the remains of the real Aurora were sunk.

Archival photos from the disassembly of the cruiser.

The Pole of cold

If you love the bitter cold, you’ll probably want to visit the coldest place in the world. But there is a catch – there are two places in the world with the official title “pole of cold”. The first, more famous – the village Oymyakon in Yakutia. The second, slightly less popular – Verkhoyansk, also in Yakutia.

A sign about the “Pole of Cold” in Oymyakon

The lowest temperature ever registered in Verkhoyansk on January 15, 1885 was -67.8°С. The lowest temperature recorded in Oymyakon: -67.7°С, i.e. one tenth of a degree warmer.

Recently, such a plate appeared in Verkhoyansk as well.

But in fact, these places are known only because they tried to record the temperature minimum there at all. It’s quite possible that somewhere in the tundra it was a few degrees colder – there just wasn’t anyone there with a thermometer.

In general both Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk are the record-breakers only in Northern hemisphere. The lowest temperature was registered at Vostok station in East Antarctica. There the thermometer showed -89.2°С. And satellites once noticed that at one point in Antarctica the temperature dropped to -93.2°C.

Sleepy Hollow in the U.S.

Tim Burton’s movie Sleepy Hollow (based on the book by Washington Irving) has become a cult movie. However, there really is no Sleepy Hollow. The town where Irving’s novel takes place was called North Tarrytown. But when the city’s main factory closed, the mayor renamed it “Sleepy Hollow,” that is, Sleepy Hollow, and thus ensured the city’s popularity among tourists. Thus shooting of the film passed at all not there, and in England, and any legend about the Headless Horseman in this small town was not.

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The inscription on the tablet translates as “The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow.

Shangri-La in China.

Another bookish attraction that never existed in the real world. Shangri-La is the fictional country where James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon takes place. Of course the real Shangri-La or even its prototype never existed, but in 2001 Zhundian County was renamed Shangri-Loi and began to lure tourists there.

Shangri-Loi City in China

The Island of Philae in Egypt

There is an ancient Egyptian legend that on the island of Philae is the tomb of Osiris and the temple of Isis. The island of Philae still exists, but there are no ancient temples, tombs and altars on it – they were moved during the construction of the Aswan Dam. So now Philae is not interesting from a historical and cultural point of view – it is better to visit Agilkia, where the monument from Philae was moved.

This temple used to be on the island of Philae, but now you can find it on Agilkia

Sherlock Holmes’s House in the UK

Conan Doyle completely made up his genius detective – there was no Holmes or even a known prototype of him. Moreover, there is not even a 221B Baker Street address in London. The modern “house-museum” is at 239 Baker Street, though there’s a sign on the door with the same address. However, fans of classic Sherlock Holmes will still find the museum interesting.

To lure tourists, local authorities and guides sometimes make up sights from nothing. Be careful, not all that glitters is gold. Check this list of fakes when you think of a new trip, so you won’t regret your trip.

Top 5: The world’s most famous landmarks that are really, newly made or fake (17 photos)

Top 5: Famous world sights, which are in fact, a fake or a new model (17 photos)

Did you know that the Aurora, the very same Aurora, is a fake and not at all the legendary cruiser that shot at the Winter Palace? However, she is not alone in the considerable list of hyper-popular world-famous landmarks that are in fact fake. Unfortunately, many monuments these days, if you dig a little deeper into their history, is at best a fake, or even a fake for the sole purpose of attracting tourists.

Here are just five of the dozens or even hundreds of such examples.

Giulietta’s House, Italy

Millions of tourists come to Verona every year, perceiving it exclusively as the city of Romeo and Juliet. And they tend to go to Via Cappello, 23, where the unfortunate Giulietta supposedly lived.

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And this despite the fact that none of the characters did not exist in reality, and places of pilgrimage of tourists belonged only to the namesakes of literary heroes. Charles Dickens, who once came to Verona, decided to visit the ancient Palace of the Capulets and found out that “it was a miserable tavern. The yard was full of dilapidated carriages, carts, geese and pigs … and the kitchen door was decorated by a very unsentimental lady.

The city of Verona, which in the early twentieth century bought it from its owners, repaired it, installed a bronze figure of Juliet and began to “sell” the legend, made a “temple of love” out of the unresentable house. It must be said, very successfully.

“Pilgrims” from all over the world come to Salisbury Plain near London to look at one of the most famous archaeological monuments in the world. Up to a certain point, the fact that the monument remains in pristine condition, even though it was built by the Druids 3,000 years before Christ, was not in doubt.

However, investigations in recent years have proved that in the 50-60s of the last century, the British authorities have completely dismantled the monument, which was in a poor state, and rebuilt it again, almost from scratch – in some places even filling the foundation and reinforcing the stones with rebar.

The most ardent critics of Stonehenge claim that the stones are not even “real”. But of course they are way out of line here – the stones are the same, just repositioned some of them.

Great Wall of China, China

According to a legend, the Great Wall was erected as early as in the III century B.C. at the will of Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di in order to protect the country from attacks of nomadic peoples. The total length of the wall is no less than 13,000 km. The wall was being built for the whole generations, but with the fall of the Manchu dynasty of Qin in China (1644-1911) the work stopped.

It is clear that over time, the wall became dilapidated, collapsed in many places and, of course, did not fulfill its purpose. In fact, much of it remains this way to this day.

In fact, the small sections, which are used by the crowds of tourists, are in fact the same remake: the reconstruction of the wall for the amusement of tourists started only in 1984, on the initiative of Deng Xiaoping.

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Loch Ness Monster, Scotland

Tourists are not frequent visitors to northern Scotland. And if it weren’t for the legend of Loch Ness, there would probably be dozens of times fewer of them. Is it really worth going to the ends of the earth just to see the Highlanders in plaid kilts and eat the famous haggis?

It is said that Nessie was first seen by the Roman legionaries who sought to conquer Scotland. But the modern reincarnation of the myth appeared in the 1930s – with the first photographs allegedly depicting the monster. Since then about 40,000 eyewitnesses have seen Nessie, dozens of scientific expeditions have been conducted, but for some reason no one has ever managed to provide convincing proof of the legend.

One would not count as such a photograph of a baby duck taken at a great distance, which for a long time was passed off as an underwater monster. But tourists from all over the world seem to enjoy this harmless hoax, and their numbers around Loch Ness do not decrease every year at least.

Pocaina Forest, Latvia

Our Baltic neighbors have managed to create a beautiful legend out of a common gravitational anomaly. In the Pocaina Forest near the Latvian town of Dobele, a person’s pulse quickens and the compass’ arrow deviates. In the mid-1970s, NASA satellites detected a powerful source of unknown underground radiation here.

Geologists explain the nature of the anomaly in cautious terms by the structure of the geological massif, or maybe by the presence of some gravitational anomalies. But according to local legends, the forest energizes people and cures all diseases. The main Latvian pokainologist was a former engineer and healer Ivars Viks. He claimed that all 30 hills of the forest are man-made, and the masonry scattered around the forest are parts of a complex mosaic that creates a certain energy field. Be that as it may, the local businessmen have built up quite a business, thanks to tourists and people who want healing. “Pilgrims”, of course, less than at Juliet’s house, but humble Latvians have enough.

Few people know that the anchorage at Petrogradskaya Naberezhnaya is not even a remake, but a genuine moulage of a cruiser that went through three wars and two revolutions. From the ship, which fought against Japan and Germany, on the current “Aurora” remained only a piece of machinery, the radio room and the marker.

And the real cruiser of the revolution has been rotting in Luzhskaya Bay of the Gulf of Finland for three decades. It was looted by locals under the Soviets. To this day in the villages you can find stairs from the Aurora gangway and the ship’s porthole, which has become a toilet window.

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“Aurora” was launched May 11, 1900 in the presence of the royal family. Another three years the cruiser was completed and underwent testing. Then the Aurora had time to circumnavigate the Baltic, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean, so that by the time the Russo-Japanese War began it was perhaps the best warship built in recent times. This was confirmed during the famous crossing of the Second Pacific Squadron, formed on the Baltic and thrown to the aid of the Port Arthur besieged by the Japanese. After signing a peace treaty with Japan and a lengthy repair, the Aurora returned to the Baltic. Then there was the revolution and the same salvo. During the civil war the cruiser was idle at the quay in Kronstadt, because the entire crew was detached to the land fronts, then became a training ship.

The Great Patriotic War rolled over the Aurora. Already in July 1941 all the guns were removed from the cruiser and formed a battery called “Aurora,” which died in the battles with German tanks. The ship itself, armed with a single anti-aircraft gun, was shelled both from the air and from the land, quickly fell into disrepair and eventually sank.

After the war, what was left of the heroic revolutionary cruiser was raised, rebuilt as the legendary “Varyag” and given to the Gorky Film Studio for filming the movie of the same name. Exactly this ship stood up for eternal stay at Nakhimovskiy school on November, 17, 1947.

But time was taking its toll. By the early 1980s the lower part of the ship’s hull had simply rotten away. The water was being pumped out of the hold twenty-four hours a day. It became clear that till the 70 th anniversary of October the cruiser would not make it. August 18, 1984 “Aurora” went to the Northern Shipyard. At that time, seeing off her Leningrad residents did not know that they were seeing the true remains of the revolutionary cruiser for the last time.

In fact, at the shipyard the construction of a new ship began. It cost the state at 35 million rubles. “Aurora” was cut along the hull. Into the new construction were inserted only a few well-preserved elements of the old ship. So, at Petrogradskaya Naberezhnaya got back a complete remake.

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