01 of 08
Locals and Landmarks: It's Complicated
The relationship between locals and landmarks can be complicated, but when travelers see a big monument, they often assume it’s important and beloved. Unknowingly, some of the most sought-after selfies in the world are in front of a structure that other people hate because it honors an evil dictator, it represents something racist, or simply because the construction was a major disruption.
If you find yourself in front of any of these seven landmarks, you’ll know both sides of the story.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Valley of the Fallen: Madrid, Spain
The fourth most-visited site managed by Spain’s National Heritage Trust consists of a Basilica where General Francisco Franco is buried, a Benedictine Abbey, and an almost 500-foot-high cross that looms over the Basilica's esplanade. Sounds stunning, doesn’t it? Its story is not. The brutal dictator ordered the construction of this monument to honor those who died for his cause during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s—Franco forced political prisoners to carve the massive Basilica into a mountainside. Spaniards were disgusted with this—and still are— especially because many prisoners died during the construction. To this day, locals are trying to remove the monument or Franco’s remains. Good luck with that one!Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Palace of Parliament: Bucharest, Romania
One of the biggest buildings in the world, Bucharest’s House of Parliament glows gold at night, attracting crowds from all over. However, once they realize that communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu originally built it for himself, they abruptly turn away (after snapping a quick pic, of course). Although Romania’s communist regime crumbled in 1989, Bucharest’s residents are reminded of it every day thanks to his profligate palace. Therefore, don’t be surprised if locals scoff when you ask for directions to this unwelcome relic. And don't be surprised if, upon reading the history of this building, you feel less than compelled to visit it when you finally make it to Romania.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
African Renaissance Monument: Dakar, Senegal
Every quality the Senegalese people disliked about former president Abdoulaye Wade (mismanagement, nepotism and indulgence, to name a few) is depicted in the 160-foot African renaissance monument he spent $27 million to build. His opponents were particularly incensed because the statue was a misuse of funds and it was a poor representation of women (the statue consists of a muscular, bare-chested male figure sweeping a half-naked woman behind him and holding a baby).Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Columbus Lighthouse: Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic
There’s a lot of drama regarding whether or not Christopher Columbus’ bones are actually in the chapel at the center of this cross-shaped lighthouse in the Dominican Republic. On top of that, thousands of impoverished locals were evicted to make room for the eyesore, and when its megawatt light beams powered on for the first time, the remaining nearby homes suffered blackouts. To say nothing about the irony of depicting Columbus as a hero in a place ravaged by the slavery his "discovery" ultimately brought with it.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Nathan Bedford Forrest Statue: Memphis, Tenn.
This might be the most hated confederate monument of them all, as it honors a prominent figure in the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest. It’s a frequent victim of graffiti; just last month it was spray painted with the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” Last year, the Memphis City Council voted to exhume Forrest’s grave and sell the statue, but it’s still there.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Peter the Great Statue: Moscow, Russia
According to VirtualTourist.com’s editors and readers, this is one of "The World's Top 10 Ugliest Buildings and Monuments.” The colossal statue over 300 feet tall was built by Georgian designer Zurab Tsereteli to honor Peter the Great’s naval feats. Muscovites especially dislike it not only because of its looks but also because Peter the Great slighted Moscow by making St. Petersburg the capital of Russia.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Mount Rushmore: Keystone, S.D.
Members of the Sioux tribe are not the biggest fans of Mount Rushmore mainly because the monument was built on sacred land the government took from them. Plus, the sculpture honors the European settlers who took that land and killed many Native Americans. In response, members of the tribe decided to build Crazy Horse Memorial on the same land many Native Americans still wish would be left alone. Founder of the Native Sun News in Rapid City told The New York Times, “I’ve never heard a single Native American, not one, ever say 'I’m proud of that mountain.'”