42 Surprising Facts Few People Know About Popular Travel Destinations

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26Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza was once covered in highly polished white limestone before it was removed to build mosques and fortresses.


27. Grand Central Terminal in New York City is so radioactive that full-time workers are exposed to more radiation than is permitted in nuclear plants.


28. The eternal flame at Arc de Triomphe in Paris has only been extinguished once by drunken Mexican football fans who urinated in it after the final of the 1998 World Cup when France defeated Brazil.


29. China's Terracotta Army were handmade, have functioning weapons and every face is unique.


30. The Forbidden City, built-in 1420, was so well-designed that it withstood over 200 earthquakes and can withstand one with a magnitude of 10.1 on the Richter scale.


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31Gambling Destinations

Las Vegas is a long way from being the gambling capital of the world. Macau’s gambling revenue is a whopping 5 times larger. Both of them are beaten by Japan. About 4% of Japan's GDP is generated by Pachinko gambling. The revenue Japan collected from these machines was more than Last Vegas and Macau combined.


32. The famous Las Vegas Strip is not actually in the city of Las Vegas. It sits immediately south of the city limits and is technically located in the unincorporated towns of Paradise and Winchester, Nevada.


33. Yellowstone National Park was established by the US Congress in 1872 and is widely considered the first national park in the world. At 2.2 million acres, the park is larger than the state of Rhode Island and since the 1960s it has been attracting at least 2 million tourists per year.


34. As recent as 1867, it was illegal for foreigners to visit Japan so no tourism existed for all of Japan's history. It was only after 1867 and the Meiji Restoration that it became legal for foreigners to enter Japan.


35. The founder of the Smithsonian, James Smithson, was a British scientist who willed his fortune to his nephew and in the event, his nephew died with no heirs, to the US government to set up an “Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” James Smithson had never visited the US in his lifetime.


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36Scranton

Thanks to the U.S. version of the sitcom “The Office”, Scranton, Pennsylvania has gone from a former coal city into a major tourist attraction, revitalizing its downtown area.


37. The Ceremony of the Keys which is carried out every night at exactly 9:53 pm at the Tower of London, is believed to be the oldest military ceremony in the world. Originating in the Middle Ages, it has never once been canceled though it was delayed once during World War 2 due to enemy action.


38. Westminster Abbey has been rebuilt 4 times. The original structure was built in 960 and it was finally rebuilt in 1517. For comparison, the original predates Machu Picchu built-in 1450 by nearly 500 years, yet the final build was completed less than 60 years after.


39. The Christmas tree that is annually set up in Trafalgar Square is donated by Norway as a token of gratitude for British support to Norway during World War 2.


40. About half of the Lincoln Memorial is hidden underground. The 43,800-square-foot basement was built with dozens of concrete columns to support the weight of the marble structure.


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41National Mall

Roughly half of the Americans will at some point in their lives visit the National Mall in Washington D.C.


42. When Washington became president, he scrapped the plans for “Washington monument” as he didn’t want to use public money for a personal memorial monument. Long after he died, in 1833, a small group of Washingtonians established a society to raise private funds for the project and got it built.

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