You know the most popular tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But it’s a safe bet that you’ve never heard of these: fascinating, strange, funny or gloomy: they may be bizarre, but they are well worth the detour!
The Pouce de la Defense in Paris
This work, which represents an inch of 12 meters in height, is located in the business district of La Défense, in Paris. This giant sculpture by artist César Baldaccini is called Le Pouce and is easily one of the strangest and most unusual works in the world. The sculptor became known for the reproduction in large format of the small objects of life; in this case, the thumb is an exact replica of his. The most bizarre is not so much the gigantism of the thumb erected in 1965, but the fact that no one seems to really understand the meaning of the work.
The Molinere underwater sculpture park in the Caribbean
You probably didn’t know that an underwater sculpture park was a necessity for our planet. The very first of its kind was created in 2006 by Jason de Caires Taylor. The British sculptor made cement casts from real people to create a world of submerged characters, close to the shores of Grenada in the Caribbean. The best-known work depicts people in a circle holding hands. This strange park can be visited by freedivers and glass bottom boats.
The inverted statue of Charles La Trobe in Melbourne
In many ways, this statue is an accurate representation of Charles La Trobe, Australia’s first Lieutenant Governor, except that it is installed upside down. Why is that ? Australian sculptor Charles Robb says that’s what makes this work, located at La Trobe University in Melbourne, memorable. However, many onlookers and locals believe it is a disrespect to the memory of Charles La Trobe.
The Georgia Guidestones granite monument in Elberton, Georgia
You’ll find the Georgia Guidestones at the highest point in Elbert County, Elberton, Georgia, USA. Arranged in the shape of a star, the granite blocks carry an engraved message containing the rules to be followed by humans after the apocalypse in order to restore humanity. The inscriptions are in four ancient languages: ancient Greek, Babylonian, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Sanskrit. This monument was erected in 1980 at the request of an anonymous group. The message focuses on the following concepts: the need to maintain the human population below 500 million, the unification of humanity through the establishment of a new language and a new order of spiritual values. Yoko Ono is one of the followers of this particular landmark from the United States.
The Hand of the Desert, Chile
In the Atacam Desert in Chile, a huge hand seems to emerge from the sand. As you approach, the hand grows in size as if a gigantic figure tries to extricate itself from the sand. Created by Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal, this hand is literally in the middle of nowhere. If you have the opportunity to visit the Chilean desert, you will appreciate the very successful effect of the work.
The hanging rhino from Luisenplatz
There is a lot to see in Potsdam, Germany. But there’s probably nothing as strange and disturbing as the sculpture of the hanging rhinoceros at Luisenplatz. There is little information available on this artwork, but we know for sure that it was created by Italian artist Stefano Bombardieri. And it is heavy, very heavy.
The Mannekin Pis in Brussels
Why? Several theories, some of them wacky, would explain its origin. According to a legend, this statue located in Brussels was erected in 1600 to commemorate the memory of a young boy who saved the city from a fire by putting out the fire with his urine. Another says that the sculpture commemorates a young king who used to piss on his enemies. Whatever the reason for sculpting this naked young boy urinating in a fountain, he is one of the best known symbols in the world.
The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
This ancient prehistoric lake in the Andes is now the largest known salt flat in the world. It has an area of 10,582 square kilometers, it is home to half of the world’s lithium reserve and contains 10 billion tons of salt. Even though this Bolivian symbol was not man-made, it falls into our weird category. Its very unusual appearance makes it an interesting place to visit even though in reality it is just a huge mass of salt.
The statue of the hanged man in Prague
It looks like a man plunging to certain death, but in fact it is a bronze statue of a man hanging from a building in Prague, Czech Republic. And the man is not just anyone. This creation by controversial artist David Cerný is meant to depict Sigmund Freud hanging by one hand. Despite its strange, bizarre and slightly disturbing character, this sculpture is dear to Czechs because it represents the fall of communism in a country that was torn apart by this system.
The Child Eater Fountain, Switzerland
The quaint little town of Bern in Switzerland includes beautiful scenery at every turn. The only element that stands out in this postcard setting is the Kindlifresser fountain, which could be translated as “the child eater”. Few adjectives other than surprising and bizarre can describe this disturbing monument. The statue depicts an ogre devouring a young child while others wait to be eaten in his pouch. It is strange that the origins of this statue are not really known. Some believe that it is a representation intended to frighten the Jews and for others it would be Cronus the king of the titans, a character from Greek mythology who ate his offspring to prevent him from take his throne. Although no one is sure of its origins, this statue has been scaring the children of Bern since the middle of the fourteenth century. It’s a good way to make sure the kids always behave well.
The strange tourist attraction of the upside down house
In Shanghai, a house was built by a group of architects completely upside down for the Creative Park Huashan. Everything from the exterior of the house and the interior is reversed. The stunning home features a kitchen, living room with fireplace, bedroom and even a fully-equipped bathroom. All furniture is fixed to the ceiling and creates an unreal feeling.
The Petrifying Well in the UK
This ancient well has always attracted curious people from the United Kingdom. When Mother Shipton was born, the people of the village dared not approach this waterhole. Some had noticed that twigs, leaves and even a bird had turned to stone there under the action of water. Gradually, the well turned into an attraction. Today, visitors can see everyday objects slowly petrifying in the waters of the well. The most popular item is a teddy bear which usually takes between three and five months to turn to stone. This is all due to a natural phenomenon, caused by the high mineral content of the water.
The Paper House, Massachusetts
This house made of newspaper was designed by Mr. Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who devoted himself to this construction to pass the time. In the beginning, newspaper was to serve as insulation. It was in 1922. Over time, the whole house was created out of paper, including the furniture. To see the walls made of 215 layers of paper for yourself, head to Rockport, Massachusetts.
Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, a morbid tourist attraction in Thailand
This garden located near Bangkok, Thailand, represents the Buddhist hell. You will see gutted and disfigured statues that represent the punishments for the sins committed. Regardless of the nature of the deviations perpetrated, the punishment always takes the form of torture.
Cinderella’s Church, a wacky tourist attraction in Thailand
There’s nothing religious about this shoe-shaped Thai building, despite its confusing name. This 23 million dollar project, measuring 17 meters high and 11 meters wide, is a memorial to the women who, during the 1950s, lost their feet due to water pollution in the arsenic in the sector, depriving many of them from walking in high heels to their weddings.
The largest chest of drawers in the world
This 38-foot-tall chest of drawers was built to make Hight Point, NC, the world’s premier furniture town. Two large socks hang from the drawers to highlight the region’s knitwear industry.
The Museum of Bad Arts, a whimsical tourist attraction
The Museum of Bad Art, Boston, is the only museum in the world entirely dedicated to bad art. In its quest to bring the worst of art to the widest possible audience, the museum relies on its collection of exuberant works, where the artists are not in complete control of their brushes. You’ll see whimsical portraits, where the muse must have been an alien, confusing landscapes depicting something between ice cream and a mountain range, and new talents discovered purely by accident.
The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, a bizarre tourist attraction
Tourists in search of morbidity will be delighted by these charming catacombs housing mummified bodies. By the end of the 16th century, the catacombs had been dug for monks exclusively. In the following centuries, the Sicilian aristocracy also wanted to enjoy burial in the catacombs. Thus today the catacombs have about 8000 mummies, arranged along the walls. The galleries are divided into different categories: men, women, virgins, children, priests, monks and professionals.
The Hair Museum, an amazing tourist attraction in Turkey
This mane museum is held in a cave house in Cappadocia, Avanos, Turkey. More specifically, it is Chez Galip pottery. You will be able to observe in this establishment a collection of nearly 16,000 hairs from women from all over the world. The hair is neither framed nor arranged in such a way that it can be admired in its uniqueness. Rather, they form a surprising vaulted cavern of hair.
Salvation Mountain, a surprising tourist attraction in California
Located in California, the “Mountain of Salvation” is a tribute by local resident Leonard Knight to God. 50 feet high and 150 feet wide, it consists of numerous murals containing Christian sayings and Bible verses.
Cano Castle, an unusual tourist attraction in Colorado
The work of Donald Espinoza, better known under the pseudonym of Cano, is a castle built with recycled materials located in Colorado. Four sparkling towers compose it. The exterior of the castle is constructed from planks of wood, plywood, aluminum, and even hubcaps and beer cans.
The frozen aquarium, an unusual tourist attraction in Japan
The Kori no Suizokukan (frozen aquarium), in Kesennuma, Japan, brings together 450 frozen marine specimens. All sea creatures are locally sourced and frozen almost instantaneously using cryogenic temperatures, preserving the appearance of the fish. To maintain the blocks of ice containing the collection, the temperature of the aquarium is maintained at -20°C at all times. Visitors must therefore dress well to explore its walls.
The National Phallus Museum, a surprising tourist attraction in Iceland
While “phallology” is still a young science, it will now be possible to study it in greater depth in this museum which brings together the genital organs of all mammals in Iceland. You will find in this gallery 217 phalluses, most often whole, which represent practically all mammalian fauna, ranging from cetaceans to bears.
Fremont Troll, a bizarre tourist attraction
This one-eyed troll, 18 feet tall, hides under the Aurora Bridge in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. The two-tonne sculpture was created in 1990 by a team of local artists to promote urban renewal. While the jury was unmoved by the sculpture, locals loved it and the troll was able to stay below deck.
England’s Garden Gnome Reserve, a bizarre tourist attraction
Recharge your batteries in this reserve inhabited by more than 1000 garden gnomes. In an enchanting and picturesque setting, stroll through ponds, meadows and gardens among your new short-legged friends. To avoid embarrassing the gnomes or complexing them, pretty pointed hats and fishing rods will be lent to you at the entrance.
Gruselkabinett, a spooky tourist attraction in Berlin
This World War II-era Berlin bunker houses amputee mannequins on the ground floor that depict the torture and barbaric medical treatment carried out during the war. Upstairs is a haunted house with a maze with costumed actors who pop out of dark corners to surprise visitors. By comparison, the basement is rather unremarkable and contains historical exhibits about the fights.
The Mindfield, an unusual tourist attraction
Artist Billy Tripp has built Tennessee’s largest outdoor sculpture using salvaged metal. The tangle of steel beams represents his emotions, personal growth and important events in his life. One of the biggest additions to the sculpture is a water tower which was added following the death of his father in 2002.
The cave of crystals, a strange attraction
This Mexican cave contains giant crystals of selenite, a variety of gypsum. The largest of the crystals measures 12 meters in length and 4 meters in diameter for a weight of 55 tons. The breathtaking sight of these gigantic crystals, however, is only reserved for the lucky few, as climbing them is difficult and the average cave temperature is 58°C, which can be deadly after 10 minutes.
Whale Alley, a phenomenal tourist attraction
On the north coast of Yttygran Island, in the far east of Siberia, mysteriously enthroned whale bones. Carefully laid out by who knows who, it is thought to be a place of worship for the native tribes. It could also be a simple gathering place for the butchering of the whales and the storage of their meat.
The dog and the giant sheep, a curious tourist attraction
The tourist information center in the small town of Tirau, New Zealand, is shaped like a gigantic sheep representing the local farming industry. Seeing that this attracted tourists, the dog was added.
The Leshan Giant Buddha, an extraordinary tourist attraction
This monumental Buddha statue carved out of the mountain in the 8th century is 233 feet tall. It is located in Sichuan, China, on Mount Lingyun, which means “at the height of the clouds”.
Hallstatt Karner, a bizarre tourist attraction
Also called the House of Bones, the Hallstatt Ossuary in Austria has several skulls and bones. Each of the skulls is beautifully painted and bears the owner’s name, occupation and date of death. Some are decorated with flowers, others with leaves and snakes.
The Gates of Hell, an incredible tourist attraction
In 1971, geologists from the former USSR accidentally dig above a cave and discover a natural gas deposit. To prevent poisonous gases from spreading, geologists set fire to the gas to eliminate the danger. What was supposed to last at most a few weeks to burn all the gas is still dragging on to this day. Thus, it has been more than 40 years since this abyss 70 meters in diameter ignites in the middle of the Karakum desert, in Turkmenistan.
The Buzludzha monument, a strange tourist attraction
Located on the peak of Buzludja, 1441 meters above sea level in the Greater Balkan Mountain Range, Bulgaria, is this memorial monument built by the Bulgarian communist regime. While this Soviet congress hall mobilized more than 6,000 workers for 7 years, it is now abandoned.
The Holy Cross Chapel in Sedona, an amazing tourist attraction
This church built in 1956 stands out for its location, the mesas of Sedona, Arizona.