The Altare della Patria (or Altar of the Fatherland) is perhaps better known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (or the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II). Many also call it the Wedding Cake. Sitting between Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill, it was built to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. The monument is also the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and features an eternal flame and the museum of Italian Unification.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery, officially St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church, was originally built in the Spanish town of Sacramenia in Segovia in the 12th century and named Santa María la Real. It was closed some time between 1836 and 1840 during the reign of Isabella II of Spain and as a result of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. William Randolph Hearst purchased the structure in 1925 and was subsequently dismantled and shipped to the United States. However, as a result of an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in Segovia, the 11,000 crates containing the historic monastery building were quarantined in New York. Though he planned to relocate it to his Hearst Castle in San Simeon, because of Hearst’s financial difficulties, the building remained in storage in New York. Raymond Moss and William Edgemon purchased the building in 1952, a year after Hearst died. The building was re-assembled on a plant nursery north of Miami.
Construction on the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile started in 1806 and lasted until 1836. Located in the Place Charles de Gaulle and at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc honors French soldiers who died fighting for France during the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic wars. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I is beneath the Arc, which was the tallest triumphal arch in the world until 1938.
The building that today serves as the Smyrna Welcome Center was once a famous restaurant serving up Southern-themed fare. Isoline Campbell MacKenna opened Aunt Fanny’s Cabin in 1941, turning an 1890s-era cabin into a country store selling food made using the recipes of Fanny Williams, her family’s retired cook. The restaurant, originally located a few miles away from its current location operated until 1994.
The U.S. Lighthouse Service dedicated Cape Neddick Light Station on Nubble Island in 1879; the light house remains in use to today. Plans for a light house date to 1837, but it wasn’t until 1874 when Congress appropriated $15,000 to build a light station that work on Cape Neddick Light began.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo dates to 1909 when it saw the departure of its first passenger train. The Choo Choo served as a functioning train station until Aug. 11, 1970, when the last passenger train departed. The station has since found a new life as a hotel, and guests can stay in either a standard room or in a refurbished rail car. There are plenty of places at the Choo Choo to eat and shop, and a 1924 New Orleans trolley whisks visitors around the hotel’s grounds.
Circus Maximus, which means the largest circus in Latin, was once home to chariot races during Roman times. The stadium, located between the Aventine and Palatine hills, could hold more than 150,000 spectators and was a model for circuses across the Roman Empire. It is today a public park.
The Clermont Citrus Tower first opened to visitors in 1956. It took 13 months, roughly $300,000, five million pounds of concrete and 149,000 pounds of reinforced steel to build the tower. Counting its antenna, the tower reaches over 500 feet above sea level, making it the highest observation point in the Sunshine State. At one point, more than 500,000 people visited the tower every year. However, the 1964 extension of the Florida Turnpike provided a waste route for motorists and the tower’s popular among travelers began to wane. Then, that roadside oddity called Walt Disney World opened. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Colosseo or Colosseum has lasted generations and is perhaps the best and most widely-known symbol of Rome’s past. Started in 72 AD, the Colosseum could hold 50,000 people, and it could be emptied in a matter of minutes and had a retractable roof. But, if that’s not outrageous enough, the Romans at times filled the stadium with water so they could reenact sea battles for war-loving crowds. Today, the building is perhaps best remembered for the gladiator fights that once took place there. The Colosseum remained in us until it was damaged in a fire in 217, giving it a roughly 145-year run.
Concord Woolen Mills dates to 1847 when Robert Daniell and Martin Ruff opened the mill. The mill was destroyed on July 4, 1864, by Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops. The two men rebuilt the mill, which reopened in 1868. By 1870, the mill had 16 workers, making it the largest employer in the area. The two men sold the mill in 1872. The mill went out of business in 1916, and the ruins are located along what is today the Heritage Park Trail and Silver Comet Trail.
Cooper’s Iron Works is the last remaining remnant of the 19th century town of Etowah. Jacob Stroup established the works in the 1830s, and Mark Anthony Cooper purchased the ironworks in the 1840s. In 1863, cooper sold the iron works to the Confederate States of America in 1863, and federal soldiers on May 22, 1864, destroyed the ironworks and mill, bringing about an end to the city’s livelihood. Following the Civil War, the town never again returned to its antebellum prominence. A smokestack is all that remains of the ironworks.
The Crime and Punishment Museum in Ashbury, Ga., opened in August 2003 in a bucolic community of about 4,100 located along Interstate 75. The building — known to many as “Castle Turner” — served as the county jail from about 1907 until 1993. Miles Cribb was the only inmate hanged inside the jail. Today, visitors to the museum can see the trap door that dropped, sending the condemned Cribb to his death. They can also gaze upon the blood-stained collar he was wearing at the time he was executed and see a replica of an electric chair, affectionately nicknamed “Old Sparky.”
The Empire State Building is arguably the most iconic representation of Gotham City. The 102-story-tall skyscraper was built in 1930-31 and opened on May 1, 1931. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world until 1954 and today is the second-tallest skyscraper in New York and the fifth-tallest completed in the country. The view from the observation deck is awesome, to say the least.
Faneuil Hall, a meeting hall and marketplace since 1743, is best known as the site of speeches by Samuel Adams and others. The historic building, often called “the Cradle of Liberty,” is part of Boston National Historical Park and a favorite stop on the Freedom Trail. Peter Faneuil, a wealthy merchant, slave trader and philanthropist built Faneuil Hall and donated the edifice to Boston.
The Foro Romano or Roman Forum was formerly the center of day-to-day life in Rome. Surrounded by government buildings, residents referred to the area as Forum Magnum or the Forum. It also served as a venue for public speeches, criminal trials and gladiator matches.
The historic Fraunces Tavern played a prominent role before, during and after the American Revolution. The edifice was a headquarters for George Washington, a venue for peace negotiations with the British and housed federal offices during the early days of the republic. Downstairs is a tavern, and a museum is located upstairs. Exhibits include a lock of hair and a tooth from George Washington.
There are some places that are truly unparalleled, whether it’s the atmosphere, the history or the general experience. While New York City as a whole falls into that category, Grand Central Terminal does as well. The New York Central built the grand terminal, which opened in 1913. An estimated 21.6 million people visit the terminal annually, making it the sixth most visited tourist attraction in the world, according to Travel + Leisure magazine. Even if travel plans in New York don’t call for an entry into or departure from Grand Central, a visit to the Terminal is well worth the sidetrack, no matter how far out of the way it might be.
The Grapevine Calaboose, which derived its name from “calabozo,” the Spanish word for dungeon, was built as the town’s first jail in 1914. The Grapevine City Council authorized its construction in 1909. It was originally located elsewhere in town (on Barton Street) and moved to Heritage Park in 1976 and its current location in 1994. The jail apparently house associates of the Barrow Gang. It remained in use until the early 1950s.
Hearst named his mansion La Cuesta Enchantada (or The Enchanted Hill), but it is commonly referred to as Hearst Castle. The Casa Grande that stands atop the hillside, the symbol of the mansion, features two towers were inspired by the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor in Ronda, Spain. The Castle is filled with Hearst’s collection of treasures from around the world, ranging from medieval tapestries to Renaissance furniture to 19th century sculptures. But, perhaps the most intriguing element of the mansion is Neptune Pool , which features the façade of an ancient Roman temple as its centerpiece.
The 14th century Jewel Tower was one part of the royal Palace of Westminster. The edifice was built between 1365 and 1366 to house the personal treasure of Edward III.
John Neely Bryan wore many hats. He was a Presbyterian farmer, lawyer and a tradesman. Perhaps more importantly, he founded Dallas, Texas. In 1841, he built a small log building. A reconstructed model of the edifice was later erected in Dallas County Historical Plaza in downtown Dallas.
The Kensington Palace royal residence has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. It is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family. The State Rooms of Kensington Palace are open to the public and display paintings and objects from the Royal Collection.
New Zealand Parliament is comprised of a series of buildings, including the recognizable Beehive. The complex also includes the Edwardian neoclassical-style Parliament House, which dates to 1922. For anyone interested in learning more about the New Zealand Parliament, visitors can take a tour of the complex. Tour guides offer a history of the legislative body and bring visitors to committee rooms and the floor of parliament.
Construction on the Ohio Statehouse started in 1839, and the structure was completed in 1861 and is considered to be a significant architectural accomplishment. The edifice, the seat of Ohio’s government, has been restored to its 1861 appearance. To learn more about the Buckeye State can venture to the Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center on the ground floor of the statehouse. Visitors can participate in a tour or wander the museum at their own pace. A monument to President William McKinley, a native of Niles, Ohio, stands in front of the statehouse.
Old Sarum is an abandoned hill fort dating that was likely established in 400 BC. The Romans later used the site and created the town of Sorviodunum. A trio of Roman roads converged near the site, making it an essential strategic location. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the city was expanded, but it was largely abandoned in the 13th century. The bishop of Salisbury, Osmund de Sees, completed a small cathedral at the site in 1092. Little is left of the city, as much of the original construction in Old Sarum was demolished after Henry VIII sold the rights to the castle’s remains in 1514.
The Palazzo Pitti or Pitti Palace dates to 1458 and was the town residence of Luca Pitti, a Florentine banker. The Medici family bought the place, which is on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio, in 1549. It served the main home of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and grew as a great treasure house. Later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions. Napoleon used the palace in the late 18th century, and King Victor Emmanuel III donated the building and its contents to the Italian people in 1919.
Palazzo Vecchio, which translates to Old Palace, is Florence’s town hall. The historic edifice is adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria and a copy of Michelangelo’s famed David statue; the Galleria dell’Accademia houses the original. It also overlooks the Loggia dei Lanzi, effectively an outdoor art gallery. Visitors who hike to the top of the Palazzo Vecchio’s bell tower are rewarded with stunning views of the city.
Started in 27 BC, the Pantheon, built as a temple to the ancient Roman gods, is considered by many to be the glory of Rome. The building has it all, from columns to marble to monuments. Without a doubt, it is a testament to Rome’s grandeur and illustrious past.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich is part of Royal Museums Greenwich, which also includes the Cutty Sark. The Royal Observatory Greenwich is home to Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian and one of the world’s most important historic scientific sites. Since its founding in 1675, Greenwich has been at the center of time and space measurement. Visitors can stand on the historic Prime Meridian line.
Thomas Ryman was a riverboat captain when he went to see popular revivalist Samuel Porter Jones address a crowd in Nashville. With plans to heckle Jones, Ryman instead emerged a changed man and decided to build a tabernacle where Jones could speak to large crowds. In the ensuing years, dozens of famed musicians, politicians and performers have appeared on the auditorium’s stage – from President Teddy Roosevelt to Harry Houdini to Charlie Chaplin. But, the “Mother Church of Country Music” is perhaps best known for its three-decade run as the host of the Grand Ole Opry. While the auditorium – located in the heart of downtown Nashville – eventually fell into a state of disrepair, this National Historic Landmark has been revitalized and transformed into one of the most famous music venues. The Ryman still regularly hosts concerts and is open during the day as a museum.
A stone cabin on this site is said to be stone blockhouse of the Valentine Sevier Station. On Nov. 11, 1794, Native Americans attacked the outpost, killing six; a seventh was scalped, but recovered. Valentine Sevier was a brother of Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier.
The Spanish Steps or Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti in Italian links Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, which is home to the church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti or Trinità dei Monti. Francesco de Sanctis designed the staircase, which was completed in 1725.
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By the 1930s, when Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship began trekking west for the winter, Wright was an established architect. Taliesin West served as the winter home and school for Wright from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. The complex drew its name from Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisc., which served as a summer home for Wright.
The Tennessee State Capitol, home of the Tennessee legislature and the governor’s office, is a National Historic Landmark. Designed by architect William Strickland, it is one of Nashville’s most prominent examples of Greek Revival architecture. It is one of only twelve state capitols (along with those of Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, and Virginia) that does not have a dome.
The Texas Capitol in Downtown Austin is perhaps the most recognizable state capitol building in the country. The Italian Renaissance Revival-style building stands 302.64 feet tall, making it the sixth tallest state capitol and taller than the United States Capitol in Washington. Workers laid the building’s cornerstone on March 2, 1885, Texas Independence Day. The capitol’s exterior walls are faced with red granite, which was quarried from near Burnet, Texas. Detroit architect Elijah E. Myers designed the edifice, which was completed in 1888. The building’s grounds are home to several monuments, including the Volunteer Firemen Monument and the Heroes of the Alamo Monument.
Andrew Jackson built the original Hermitage in 1804, more than a decade before the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and more than 20 years before he was elected the nation’s seventh president. The current mansion was built between 1819 and 1821 and later underwent major renovations in 1831 and after an 1834 fire heavily damaged much of the house. The current Greek revival look of the house dates to 1835. Jackson — nicknamed “Old Hickory” — retired from public life in 1837, and he lived in The Hermitage until his death in 1845. Jackson and his wife, Rachel, who preceded him in death, are buried on the grounds.
The Old Rock Gaol in downtown Greensboro was built about 1807 after the Superior Court of Greene County recommended a substantial jail be built. The jail, patterned after European bastilles, was built with using granite from a local quarry. With walls that are two feet thick, the jail has the distinction of being the oldest standing masonry jail in Georgia. The jail was used until 1895. Open by appointment, visitors can see where executions by hanging took place. Hangings were legal in Georgia from 1735 to 1924.
The First Toronto Post Office is the only surviving example of a post office that served as a department of the British Royal Mail in Canada. The Georgian style building dates to 1833 before York became the city of Toronto and is also sometimes referred to as the Fourth York Post Office. Today, the museum, which is also home to the Town of York Historical Society, includes a range of exhibits about the history of mail in Canada and the building itself.
The Tower of London is perhaps the single most famous London landmark, best known for its history as a jail. Today, the tower, which dates to 1078, is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions and is home to the Crown Jewels. The tower, which sits on the north bank of the River Thames, has been besieged at various times and controlling the edifice has been critical to control of England. Its peak use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the many prominent people “sent to the Tower” are Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh and Elizabeth Throckmorton.
Historic Union Station opened in 1927 and is today the busiest rail station in Canada. GO Transit, UP Express, intercity trains, subways and streetcars all pass through the station. Chances are anyone exploring Toronto will step foot in the station at least once.
The Vandalia State House is the fourth statehouse of Illinois and is the oldest surviving capitol building in the state. The structure served as the capital from 1836 until 1839, when it moved to Springfield. The two-story painted brick structure later served as a courthouse and was converted into a state monument in 1933.
Windsor Castle, dating to the 11th century, has long been associated with the English and British royal families. Since Henry I, who ruled from 1100-1135, reigning monarchs have used the castle, making it the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s original purpose was to protect Norman dominance around London’s outskirts. It also oversaw a strategically important part of the River Thames. Royals have used Windsor Castle for refuge, including during World War II’s Luftwaffe bombing campaigns. Today it is a favorite weekend retreat for Queen Elizabeth II. The castle sits on 13 acres and is accessible from London by train.