From Machu Picchu to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the world is dotted with important landmarks and monuments. Millions of people visit these historic sites every year. So how is it possible that there are actually aspects of these extremely famous places that remain a mystery?
Yes, even the most well-known sites around the world have their secrets. While you might think you know them well, you’ll be surprised to find there’s so much that history class never taught you. Check out these seven amazing monuments and find out what secrets they hold…
1. The Eiffel Tower: Visiting the very top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, is an experience like no other on the planet. Yet, that’s not all this world-famous attraction should be known for…
When the tower was built in 1889, it was constructed to serve as the entrance for the World’s Fair. Not only that, but it housed one delightful secret: the Eiffel Tower actually had a secret apartment built at the very top, constructed for its creator, Gustave Eiffel.
Believe it or not, many people in Paris actually hated the way that the tower looked and wanted it torn down. Anyone looking to visit this one-of-a-kind escape, however, is certainly thrilled the tower stood the tests of time!
2. The Lincoln Memorial: Located in Washington, D.C., this memorial erected to honor Abraham Lincoln is iconic. However, it also hides a real secret. If you look closely you can spot a door on the side of the monument!
This door leads you down into a massive underground hall that actually looks and feels like it could be a natural cave. There are even real stalagmites hanging from the ceiling!
However, it’s impossible to confuse this man-made cave for the real thing—it’s covered in graffiti. Academics call it “historical graffiti” because it was put on the walls by the men who first built the monument in the 1900s.
3. Trafalgar Square: Located in the heart of London, England, this city square has been the site of some of the country’s most dramatic riots, including Black Monday and Bloody Sunday…
Given the violent history surrounding the very monument itself, it made sense that authorities would want to make sure that police officers were on-site, just in case they were needed.
But unless you were actively looking for them, it was almost impossible to spot them at the square! That’s because they were located in this teeny, tiny police station. Called the Lilliput station, it’s now just used for storage.
4. The Washington Monument: In 2016, the stunning Washington Monument was closed indefinitely because the staff needed to repair the elevator, which was notoriously problematic.
While this was disappointing to tourists, it didn’t mean they had to miss out. They could actually go and visit a 12-foot replica of the monument hidden in a nearby manhole! Known as a Geodetic Control Point, it’s part of a network of similar control points across the country that help the National Geodetic Survey synchronize government maps.
While it’s now located beneath a manhole, when it was first built in the 1880s, it stood proudly on the lawn. Over time, the shifting conditions of the lowlands that make up Washington, D.C. caused it to gradually sink.
5. The Statue of Liberty: A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a visit to Lady Liberty. While you probably already know that you can ride a lift into her crown, did you know that tourists could once visit the torch as well? That all changed for a wild reason…
On July 30, 1916, German spies set off a bomb on a pier in nearby Jersey City. The blast was so powerful that it badly damaged Lady Liberty’s arm and her torch, and they weren’t fully repaired until 1984.
Ever since the explosion, visitors haven’t been allowed up into the arm. That said, if you want to see the original torch, it’s still on display inside the museum found on the island.