30 Photos: 15 Famous Landmarks Zoomed Out to Show their Surroundings.

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Those pictures are nuts/awesome.


“Kind of devastated about stonehenge, I had this vision of total isolation and spookiness.”

“It’s actually better now, they moved the parking lot away.”


But first, Relephant Bonus:

Context is everything. Unless, in popular view, it’s utterly ignored.
“Finding out the Great Pyramids weren’t in the middle of the desert and that there is a KFC across the street was a huge disappointment.”
  • Pyramids, Cairo
  • Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
  • Taj Mahal, Agra, India
  • Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
  • Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
  • Niagara Falls
  • Acropolis, Athens
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Forbidden City, Beijing
  • Hollywood sign, duh
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Mona Lisa, Louvre Museum, Paris
  • Central Park, New York
  • Arc de Triomphe, Paris
  • Little Mermaid Statue, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Famous landscapes and the zoomed out picture.

Love interesting photography? Here’s more: 


Photos Wow 

10 Photos that you’ve never seen that you’ll never forget




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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


26 Responses to “30 Photos: 15 Famous Landmarks Zoomed Out to Show their Surroundings.”

  1. I was in Gaza at the Pyramids in 1998. I had to take a camel out to a sand dune where you could only
    hear the wind howl to escape the noise of the vendors selling trinkets and the tour buses that were allowed to
    come up on the plateau and the tourists bustling around. I sat there and heard the wind howl, saw their majesty against the enormous blue sky and wept 🙂 They felt familiar and as if someone had decimated my home.

  2. Richard says:

    What do you know- real life isn't like a theme park.

    The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona feels like it is exactly where it needs to be – right in the middle of a city. The building is dying in parts while still being born in others – just like a city.

  3. tishushu says:

    Central Park is still amazing!

  4. Kates says:

    It is a shame that these wondrous places have become so saturated with civilization, but should we really be surprised? There are over 7 billion people on this planet, and there are fewer isolated historical sites that are not part of a living and breathing society. But we should not appreciate them any less, as they are both magical and breath-taking in their beauty. I'd love to visit each one of them and feel the energy of each person who stood before me and take in the profound magnificence of each landmark. Feel blessed that we can get so close, so easily, and admire their beauty!

  5. Todd Wheeler says:

    At least Rushmore and Santorini look good from afar.

  6. Lisa says:

    I've been to a few of these landmarks and am grateful for their preservation and the beauty they inspire and I also appreciate a feeling of being connected with history in juxtaposition to modern society.

  7. Carrie says:

    These sites are all the more amazing for being pat of dynamic surroundings. The fact they still stand and are preserved among the needs of vibrant societies is a beautiful testament to humanity. The desire to trek into the unknown desert and experience something primal is not only rife with privilege for the few but also racial hierarchy .

  8. Awarqueen says:

    Central Park looks even more amazing from above!

  9. Farhang says:

    Wow, beautiful and sad

  10. Shorty says:

    One that's missing is the Alamo. Crazily out of context in downtown San Antonio. Looks like a Taco Bell….
    In this list, Stonehenge, Mt Rushmore, Central Park and l'Arc de Triomphe are where they should be and managed well.

  11. Nomand Vi says:

    You should add Petra into this list.

  12. DomesticGoddess says:

    Some of these are not so bad. The picture with the Mona Lisa pretty much replicates my own disappointing experience, although I think it's better displayed than when I was there 15 years ago. The Pieta was similar: smaller than expected, too far away to appreciate detail, and surrounded by bullet-proof glass. Viewing the Sistine Chapel, surreal in the middle of a huge, tightly-packed crowd was awe-inspiring, as was Michaelangelo's David.

  13. FreedomTen says:

    I visited The Pyramids of Giza back in the late summer of 1990 (Just as Saddam invaded Kuwait!). In awe of these structures as well as the Sphynx which was adjacent……………Went all the way inside of the larger pyramid to view the chamber where the king was laid to rest. Amazing structure and engineering wonder at that time. A trip I'll never forget.

    By the way, if you want to see a distinction between rich and very poor…………..go to Cairo. Needless to say I kiss the ground of the good ole USA.

  14. Mark says:

    I have been to Greece several times. Santorini and Athens look exactly like that — go figure.. I love both very much. If you go to Greece stop through Kavala Greece, up in the North on the coast. A part of my heart stayed in Kavala.

  15. Naveen says:

    In case of Taj Mahal, why it's not zoom out or arial photography?

  16. FromWNY says:

    I'm surprised how good they made Niagara Falls look on the zoom out… of course they used the Canadian side. Show the USA side and how trashy downtown NF really is…

  17. narmitaj says:

    The Stonehenge pic is out of date – in the last couple of years they closed and grassed over the minor foreground road (the A344) and removed the car park that is visible, building the new ticket office & exhibition centre a mile away. The bigger road in the background is still there, the A303, but there is talk about putting in a tunnel (though there has been for decades). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-30… has some of the story and a pic of the grassed-over road.

  18. grasya says:

    I'm so glad I don't have the gift of photography haha! I might not be able to impress people on how beautiful a picture it.. but at least I expose reality 😀

  19. Jered Morgan says:

    This is an argument against bad photography more than anything

  20. MountainMan41 says:

    The Taj Mahal picture is out of context. It is taken from the back side during a very low tide. The foreground is a tidal flat where the ground is only visible only on low tides. Don’t know how low the tide needs to be here, but it could have been taken with a calm ocean bay of water in the foreground. It was purposely taken at the low tide to make it look ugly.

  21. Chantal says:

    The Coliseum in Rome would be another one to add, its basically used as a round about for the highway…so strange

  22. Julie Gelder says:

    The stone henge photo is very out of date. The visitor centre, and car park are now a mile away with shuttles to it and the road has been moved quite a distance away

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