Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what’s seen by that eye is in the hands of the photographer. Many historical or iconic photos are carefully taken, creating images that stick with us forever. But when you go to see these places yourself, reality sets in…

12Pyramids of Giza

source: businessinsider.com

The pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, in the modern world, capitalism has to have its way. This is a photo of the pyramids from a nearby KFC.

11Central Park

Central Park
source: cdn.earthporm.com

Anyone who has walked the streets of New York City can tell you that the view from the ground is dominated by massive buildings. It’s not until you get an aerial shot of Central Park that you understand how thoroughly urbanization has confined nature.

10Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa
source: stevethings.files.wordpress.com

Beautiful on the outside, the inside of the Leaning Tower hasn’t been updated much since construction. It’s largely hollow, and there are no handrails on the staircases leading to the top.

9The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China
source: heybrian.com

It’s the most famous fortification in history, but the photos of it you’ve seen most often are carefully selected. Large swaths of the wall haven’t stood the test of time and are rundown and broken.

8The Las Vegas Strip

source: news3lv.com

At night it’s bigger than life with beautiful neon lights, but during the day it just looks hokey.

7The Alamo

source: ytravelblog.com

Remember the Alamo… if you can find it! Is it a piece of American history or a tourist trap? Is there a difference?

6The Little Mermaid Statue

source: time.com

Copenhagen’s famous statue is, like the Alamo, little more than a tourist attraction these days, which makes it a constant target of vandalism. What’s more, the statue is a lot smaller than most believe thanks to widely-publicized close-up shots.

5Ryugyong Hotel

source: of6.info

North Korea’s famous one-hundred-and-five-floor building has been under construction for ages, Despite a very sleek face on the outside, the inside remains almost entirely unfinished.

4The White House

source: lindajones.org

As part of Washington, D.C., it makes sense that the nation’s most important building would be surrounded by other buildings… yet few photos show just how close it is to everything else.

3The Mona Lisa

source: mentalfloss.com

Good luck with finding a famous painting. It seems so minuscule at The Louvre, occupying the massive wall all on its own.

2The Statue of Liberty

source: youtube.com

The standing space inside of the Statue of Liberty’s head is actually quite small. It’s basically just the crown, despite how it’s been depicted in movies and television.

1The Forbidden City

source: the-voyageurs.com

Used to house Chinese emperors for nearly five-hundred years, there’s nothing forbidden about these ninety-plus buildings these days. The Forbidden City now serves as a museum, and the seclusion it once had is long gone. It sits in the shadows of today’s tall buildings.

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