People love visiting these locations and are fascinated by their universal, timeless significance. Historical sites also boost the local economy, creating jobs for the citizens of the region, and can be both educational and profitable. However, modern day tourism is a double-edged sword; while it gives exposure to its location, and raises money to preserve the historical treasure, that same exposure means virtually anyone can come in for a visit.
Several historical places have been ruined by tourists. It only takes one bad egg to ruin it for the rest, and unfortunately some of the world’s most treasured historical places have been nearly decimated because of disrespectful tourists. In order for these historical sites to last as long as possible and to remain open to the public, they need to be taken care of in a cooperative effort by both staff and visitors alike. I guess it’s all about team work.
10. The Great Pyramids & Sphinx
The Great Pyramids and the Sphinx are the iconic and historical sites of Ancient Egypt. Not only are they testaments to the innovations and technology of the Egyptians, but also stand as a reminder of the slavery of the Jewish people, who helped erect these vast monuments to deceased pharaohs. Recent visitors to these sites have noted that there has been a rapid deterioration from hosting so many tourists over the last few centuries.
9. Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum is one of the most iconic historical sites in the world. Located just east of the Roman Forum, construction of the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD, and has hosted a slew of events from chariot races, bear trapping, gladiator matches, and more. The vandalism is so bad at the Colosseum that Roman officials have started enforcing a fine of over $20,000 if you’re caught carving into the walls.
8. Angkor Wat
Located in Cambodia, Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious buildings in the world as well as being one of the largest tourist attractions in the country. Angkor Wat holds so much significance that it is even featured on the Cambodian flag. It was built in the early 12th century, and is one of the best-preserved temples on site. Graffiti has been an ongoing problem, and the structure of the temple is weakening due to the high traffic of tourists coming through every year.
7. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is one of the largest man made structures in human history. The Chinese were building walls as far back as the 7th century, and the Great Wall stands as a testament to the innovation of the country. You can even see the Great Wall from space, and millions of tourists visit the Wall each year, walking and scaling the stones. However, tourists are slowly destroying the Great Wall, which wasn’t built to withstand so much foot traffic or the graffiti.
6. Roman Forum
Some of the most famous and formative historical events took place at the Roman Forum in the city of Rome, Italy. Some of the most important decisions were made at the Forum that have impacted the course of human history. Guided tours of the space are strongly encouraged because most people won’t be able to recognize what they are looking at; however, tourists can often be seen moving rocks, placards, taking stones, and even graffiting the pillars.
Located in India, Jaisalmer is a city that dates back to the medieval times, and is considered to be a World Heritage site. In the last 10 years, the tourism for Jaisalmer has quadrupled. Even though the site is popular, the city itself can’t withstand the volume of tourists. The sewage system is incredibly outdated, and water seeps into the sandstone from cracks in the old pipes.
Tulum, Mexico was one of the last cities inhabited by the ancient Mayan people, and even lasted for an additional 70 years after the Spanish occupied Mexico. This walled city sits upon the cliffs of the Yucatan Peninsula, almost 40 feet above the crashing waves of the coast. Visited annually by over one million visitors each year, what was once a deserted beach is now filled with shopping centers, hotels, and amusement parks.
3. Machu Picchu
For hundreds of years, Machu Picchu lay dormant in the Andes Mountains. What was once a vast city for the Inca people in Peru, Machu Picchu was built around 1450, and then abandoned a century later when the Spaniards came through. But the city remained a mystery and legend to the rest of the world until 1911 when explorer Hiram Bingham was led there by locals. Today, hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Machu Picchu every year, jeopardizing the fortitude of the ancient ruins.
2. The Parthenon
The Parthenon sits upon a hill in Athens, Greece, known as the Acropolis. One of the oldest ancient ruins still standing, the Parthenon was built as a temple to the goddess Athena between 438 and 447 BCE. The vast temple was later converted into a church, and then a mosque, over the course of its existence. While Athens benefits economically from tourism, guests have often been caught drawing on the ancient pillars and carving their name or other things.
Stonehenge is located in the United Kingdom and is one of the most compelling historical locations in history. Not only is it one of the most ancient historical sites, but it has been central to much debate as to how the stones came to their location in the first place with prehistoric technology. Unfortunately, those who have visited this location in the past have not been quite as respectful as they should. The original look and location of the stones aren’t even legitimate anymore.