The World’s Strangest Landmarks
They may not enjoy the fame of the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower, but these quirky landmarks still manage to leave a lasting impression.
Yes, it’s a 40-foot thumb, in the middle of the busy business sector of Paris, France. Known as Le Pouce, by artist César Baldaccini, this giant sculpture is most definitely one of the weirdest landmarks around the world. Known for making oversized sculptures of commonplace objects, Baldaccini’s mammoth digit is actually an exact replica of his own thumb. Built in 1965, this strange addition to the landscape of Paris has left locals and visitors scratching their heads ever since.
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Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park
You may not have known the world needed one, but the very first underwater sculpture park was created by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor in 2006. The British sculptor used casts of real people to create a cement world of people buried in the water off the coast of Grenada in the Caribbean. The most famous of the series features a collection of people holding hands in a circle. The strange sculpture park can be viewed by scuba divers or passengers on a glass-bottom boat tour.
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Upside Down Charles La Trobe Statue
In most respects, this is an ordinary statue of Charles La Trobe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Australia—except for the fact that it’s upside down, of course. Why is it upside down? The Australian sculptor Charles Robb says the controversial nature of this statue, located at La Trobe University in Melbourne, is what makes it a memorable monument. However, many on-lookers and locals disagree, deeming it disrespectful to La Trobe’s memory.
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Hand of the Desert
Atacam Desert, Chile
In the Atacam Desert in Chile, you’ll find a hand that seems to be emerging from the sand. The closer you get to it, the bigger it seems, giving the impression that a giant human is breaking out of the sand as you approach. Created by Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal, the hand is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. However, if you have the chance to roam the Chilean desert, you’ll certainly appreciate its cool effect.
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Why? No one is quite certain, but there are several theories, most of which are quite hilarious. One legend says the statue, located in Brussels, Belgium, and created in the 1600s, was made to commemorate a young boy who saved the town from a fire by putting it out with his urine. Another legend says it was made in memory of a young king who was known for urinating on enemies. Whatever the reason behind the construction of this little naked boy, peeing into a fountain, it is most definitely one of the weirdest landmarks around the world.
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Salar de Uyuni
What used to be a prehistoric lake near the Andes is now the largest salt flat in the world. It is over 4,000 square miles and contains half the world’s supply of lithium, and 10 billion tons of salt! Though this Bolivian landmark isn’t man-made, it still fits into our category of weird. Its unusual appearance makes it an interesting sight to see, despite the fact that it’s really just a huge ton of salt.
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Prague, Czech Republic
This may look like a man about to plummet to his death, but it’s actually a bronze statue of a man hanging from a building in Prague, Czech Republic. Not just any man, either: Created by controversial artist David Cerný, this is supposed to be none other than Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis.
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In the city of Bern, Switzerland, there are beautiful landscapes at almost every turn. The only unusual thing about this picturesque place is Kindlifresser Fountain, which translates into “Child-Eater.” The disturbing statue depicts a giant or ogre quite literally eating a baby, with a few more infants held captive in his sling. Stranger still is the fact that the origins of this 16th-century monument are not really known. Some say it’s a reference to Kronos the Titan of Greek mythology, who ate his own children to keep them from stealing his throne. One thing’s for certain: it’s been scaring the daylights out of children (and parents) for nearly 500 years.
Next, explore the best museums in the world.