Before and after: incredible attractions that don't look like they used to



Slide 1 of 33: The world’s most famous landmarks are instantly recognizable but some of them are also changing rapidly. Whether it’s due to climate change, overtourism, erosion or simply wear and tear, the wonders of our world are under threat every day. Here are some of the most famous places around the world that are dramatically changing.
Slide 2 of 33: India’s incredible Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1648, in memory of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's favorite wife. Once a vibrant white, it's now rather losing its shine thanks to a mixture of pollution and insect organic matter.
Slide 3 of 33: Today, the majestic marble UNESCO-listed building is a rather unsightly brown and green color. Despite a 4,015-square-mile (10,400 sq km) area surrounding the Taj Mahal protecting it from pollution and the building having a mud bath in an attempt to clean it, the problem is actually worsening.
Slide 4 of 33: The Azure Window, a stunning limestone arch near Dwejra Bay on the island of Gozo, was shaped by years of natural coastal erosion. But Mother Nature was also its downfall – in 2017, the rock formation collapsed during a heavy storm. It was a huge draw for tourists visiting the island, especially at sunset.

Slide 5 of 33: Although the view isn't nearly as picturesque since its collapse, divers say that it’s the best thing to happen to the area. The huge brittle rocks have given them a whole new area to explore.
Slide 6 of 33: The Azure Window isn’t the only arch to have collapsed in recent years. Legzira Beach in southern Morocco was home to two stunning arches until 2016 when one eroded and collapsed.
Slide 7 of 33: It’s highly likely that the second arch will suffer a similar fate, although you can currently still reach it in low tide.
Slide 8 of 33: The snowy glaciers at the summit of Africa’s largest mountain are disappearing – one lost 16.4 feet (5m) in thickness between 2000 and 2009. Others are melting rapidly.
Slide 9 of 33: The changes could be to do with the increase in temperature in the Indian Ocean, altering the climate and winds around the mountain. Experts predict that Kilimanjaro's northern glaciers could completely disappear by 2030. Take a look at the world's landmarks under threat from climate change.

Slide 10 of 33: If you go to a national park that’s famed for its glaciers, you’d be hoping to see some. But in Montana’s Glacier National Park, often called the Crown of the Continent, they’re melting. And at a serious rate.
Slide 11 of 33: Some of the glaciers in the park have shrunk in size by 85% in the last 50 years. Glacier retreat is expected to continue and a model published in 2003 predicted that two of the park's largest glaciers will become inactive by 2030. This means deeper lakes will form when the ice melts and it'll have a huge impact on the rest of the park's ecosystem.
Slide 12 of 33: In Edinburgh, Scotland, Greyfriars Bobby, the life-size statue of the terrier who supposedly guarded his owner's grave for 14 years, attracts visitors from all over the world. But it's to the detriment of the sculpture.
Slide 13 of 33: The frequent nose rubs from tourists take their toll on the statue and cause serious damage to the patina. It costs hundreds of dollars to repair so in a bid to minimize damage, city officials have asked that he only get a light touch on the nose. 
Slide 14 of 33: The high concentration of salt in the Dead Sea, located between Jordan and Israel, means people can naturally float in it. Reading a copy of the newspaper while bobbing about is usually a popular afternoon activity. But the sea's waters are receding and causing sinkholes to appear.

Slide 15 of 33: The surface level is dropping by approximately three feet (1m) every year. Around 50 years ago the Dead Sea covered around 386 square miles (1,000sq km) but it has now shrunk to about 259 square miles (670sq km). As well as rising temperatures, a lot less water is flowing into the Dead Sea from the River Jordan due to irrigation. There are now moves to direct more water back into the Dead Sea in an attempt to restore its levels.
Slide 16 of 33: Hundreds of visitors to the prehistoric caves of Lascaux, in the Dordogne region of France, caused irreparable damage to the stunning display of around 600 cave paintings. The works were discovered by teenage boys in 1940 and the cave opened to the public in 1948. But years of humidity from body heat and people breathing out carbon dioxide meant that the incredible works were ruined.
Slide 17 of 33: The cave is now closed to the public but tourists can see a complete, incredibly detailed replica at a visitor center near to the original site (open with safety measures in place). You can gaze up at the animal paintings for as long as you like without fear they'll deteriorate. The caves themselves became UNESCO-listed in 1979.
Slide 18 of 33: The 14,000-year-old bison drawings in northern Spain’s Caves of Altamira are closed to crowds for similar reasons to the Lascaux Caves. Preservation is key. A maximum of six people are allowed to take the tour at each time.
Slide 19 of 33: For those people who miss out on the cave tour, there's a museum nearby that follows Lascaux's lead and showcases a very convincing replica of the cave and its paintings. It's not the real thing, but it's expertly done.
Slide 20 of 33: Hooking a 'love lock' with your initials on the Pont des Arts in Paris was the must-do thing for loved-up tourists. Millions of them were locked onto the bridge and it became so heavy that part of the railings collapsed.
Slide 21 of 33: The grilles of the French capital's famous bridge were replaced and it's now illegal for romantics to attach locks to the bridge. However, it doesn't stop people from attaching locks to the nearby lampposts. Take a look at other tourist attractions ruined by commercialization.
Slide 22 of 33: Antony Gormley’s art installation called Another Place has been permanently installed at Crosby Beach, near Liverpool in northern England, since 2007. It's comprised of 100 statues, all modeled on the artist's own body.
Slide 23 of 33: Some of the statues are placed far out at sea so can only be seen when the tide is out. It's these statues that bear the brunt of Mother Nature. Weathering, oxidation and the addition of whelks and barnacles looking for a new home are all deliberately part of the ever-changing display. Find out how the world's weather is affecting more popular tourist attractions.
Slide 24 of 33: The world's largest reef system and biggest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's most famous attractions. But what was once a colorful array of corals, thriving with fish and marine life of all kinds, is now a climate change tragedy.
Slide 25 of 33: Coral bleaching – when water temperatures get too warm and kill the organisms that grow on coral – has had a huge impact on the reef's marine life but it's also affected tourism. Some areas just aren't appealing for divers. The problems facing the Great Barrier Reef are likely to get worse.
Slide 26 of 33: The salt flats in southwest Bolivia are the largest in the world – more than 4,600 square miles (12,000sq km) in fact. When the surface is dry, the expanse looks like a patchwork of brilliant white and when wet, the blue sky and clouds above are reflected perfectly. But the salt flats are also resting on half of the world’s lithium reserves.
Slide 27 of 33: Demand for lithium is increasing – it's used in smartphone batteries, for example – and Bolivia is extracting it. Mines and heavy duty machinery are ruining the view and putting the picturesque salt flats at serious risk.
Slide 28 of 33: Located in Los Glaciares National Park, in the Santa Cruz province of Patagonia, Perito Moreno is a glacial giant measuring a staggering 18.6 miles (30km) in length. While many of the glaciers surrounding it are melting, Perito Moreno is actually growing.
Slide 29 of 33: It’s not yet understood by scientists why this is happening. Some suggest that it's due to the steepness of the ice, others think that the climate on the outskirts of the huge glacier might play a part. What is important is that although it does certainly look to be gaining ground, the overall amount of ice amassed is actually minimal and every six years or so the glacier's edge will collapse and put on one hell of a show.
Slide 30 of 33: Some weathering of these ancient structures is inevitable but the biggest danger to the Pyramids of Giza and Great Sphinx is actually pollution, which is causing the monuments to erode. Sewage is also causing severe damage to the plates that they’re standing on which could lead them to collapse entirely.
Slide 31 of 33: Not only is pollution from the nearby city of Cairo damaging the incredible monuments, it's causing decreased visibility for tourists. Those views aren't so Instagrammable when you add a smog filter. Check out new secrets of the world's ancient wonders here.
Slide 32 of 33: When the Statue of Liberty was first erected in 1886, it was actually a muddy brown color. You can see how it originally looked in this photograph from the early 20th century.
Slide 33 of 33: But because Lady Liberty is made of copper, oxidation (the process of air and water reacting with the metal) has given the statue the trademark green hue we see today. Now see these incredible pictures of tourist attractions that no longer exist.

The changing faces of famous attractions

The world’s most famous landmarks are instantly recognizable but some of them are also changing rapidly. Whether it’s due to climate change, overtourism, erosion or simply wear and tear, the wonders of our world are under threat every day. Here are some of the most famous places around the world that are dramatically changing.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Azure Window, Gozo, Malta

Azure Window, Gozo, Malta

Legzira Beach, Morocco

Legzira Beach, Morocco

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The changes could be to do with the increase in temperature in the Indian Ocean, altering the climate and winds around the mountain. Experts predict that Kilimanjaro’s northern glaciers could completely disappear by 2030. Take a look at the world’s landmarks under threat from climate change.

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh, Scotland

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh, Scotland

The frequent nose rubs from tourists take their toll on the statue and cause serious damage to the patina. It costs hundreds of dollars to repair so in a bid to minimize damage, city officials have asked that he only get a light touch on the nose. 

Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel

Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel

Lascaux, Montignac, France

Lascaux, Montignac, France

The cave is now closed to the public but tourists can see a complete, incredibly detailed replica at a visitor center near to the original site (open with safety measures in place). You can gaze up at the animal paintings for as long as you like without fear they’ll deteriorate. The caves themselves became UNESCO-listed in 1979.

Caves of Altamira, Cantabria, Spain

The 14,000-year-old bison drawings in northern Spain’s Caves of Altamira are closed to crowds for similar reasons to the Lascaux Caves. Preservation is key. A maximum of six people are allowed to take the tour at each time.

Caves of Altamira, Cantabria, Spain

For those people who miss out on the cave tour, there’s a museum nearby that follows Lascaux’s lead and showcases a very convincing replica of the cave and its paintings. It’s not the real thing, but it’s expertly done.

Pont des Arts, Paris, France

Hooking a ‘love lock’ with your initials on the Pont des Arts in Paris was the must-do thing for loved-up tourists. Millions of them were locked onto the bridge and it became so heavy that part of the railings collapsed.

Pont des Arts, Paris, France

The grilles of the French capital’s famous bridge were replaced and it’s now illegal for romantics to attach locks to the bridge. However, it doesn’t stop people from attaching locks to the nearby lampposts. Take a look at other tourist attractions ruined by commercialization.

Crosby Beach, Merseyside, England

Crosby Beach, Merseyside, England

Some of the statues are placed far out at sea so can only be seen when the tide is out. It’s these statues that bear the brunt of Mother Nature. Weathering, oxidation and the addition of whelks and barnacles looking for a new home are all deliberately part of the ever-changing display. Find out how the world’s weather is affecting more popular tourist attractions.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Perito Moreno, Santa Cruz, Argentina

Perito Moreno, Santa Cruz, Argentina

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Not only is pollution from the nearby city of Cairo damaging the incredible monuments, it’s causing decreased visibility for tourists. Those views aren’t so Instagrammable when you add a smog filter. Check out new secrets of the world’s ancient wonders here.

Statue of Liberty, New York, USA

Statue of Liberty, New York, USA

But because Lady Liberty is made of copper, oxidation (the process of air and water reacting with the metal) has given the statue the trademark green hue we see today. Now see these incredible pictures of tourist attractions that no longer exist.

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