The Seven Most Photographed Landmarks in the World

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  03.26.10 | 11:07 AM ET

Photo by Al Ianni, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

As determined by a Cornell University study (pdf), they are:

1) The Eiffel Tower
2) Trafalgar Square
3) The Tate Modern
4) Big Ben
5) Notre Dame Cathedral
6) The London Eye
7) The Empire State Building

As far as I can tell, students at Cornell’s Department of Computer Science used data from Flickr to determine the images. I gave up all hope of trying to totally comprehend the analysis, though, when I came across this in the study’s text:


16 Comments for The Seven Most Photographed Landmarks in the World

JoAnna 03.26.10 | 11:35 AM ET

I’m surprised the Sydney Opera House isn’t on that list.

RaysAdventures 03.26.10 | 8:08 PM ET

In the world… using only Flickr?
I wonder what the results would be if they included Google image searches. I bet the list would be different and probably a better sampling to determine the world’s search tendencies. I would think the Pyramids of Giza or Machu Picchu would be listed, too.

William 03.27.10 | 9:45 AM ET

Totally not the list I would have guessed.  Egypt didn’t make the list for anything?  I agree with RaysAdventures….the Flickr bias might be showing a little :)


aaronsinger 03.27.10 | 1:03 PM ET

I don’t see these as that unlikely at all, many, many more tourists go to London and Paris than Egypt and Australia. The bias I do see with Flickr is an english language one; it’s mostly a website for english speakers, no?

As for Google Images, I don’t see how studying the pictures on it would reflect what people search for, but it would seem a much better reflection of the internet as a whole than just one photo site.

Andi 03.27.10 | 2:40 PM ET

Hmmm, interesting list!  I would have guessed differently!

Walter P Komarnicki 03.27.10 | 8:09 PM ET

so what’s wrong with Chicago’s EL or Montreal’s ‘76 olympic needle or Hong Kong at dusk?

Or the magic of Mumbai?

Chris 03.27.10 | 10:20 PM ET

I’m thinking the Great Wall of China, burj al arab (Dubai), Sidney Opera House and the Apple store in NYC.

Donna 03.29.10 | 7:47 AM ET

Great List! Where is the Twin Tower of Singapore, Taj Mahal of India, Great Wall of China.

Randall 03.30.10 | 6:35 PM ET

Awesome list. I’d have thought for sure the Sydney bridge or Opera house would be on there. If you haven’t seen them, you definitely need to check them out!

The Go Green Blog 03.30.10 | 6:58 PM ET

Hmmm…this list seams bias to London…what is up with that?

Chris S. 04.07.10 | 2:52 AM ET

I tried so hard when I was in Paris not to photograph the Eiffel Tower from that angle, but in the end couldn’t help but snap a shot as cliché as it was. I’m surprised that the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge are not on the list. I’ve always found it difficult to snap a picture of the Empire State Building because it is difficult to get an angle on unless you are either high up or far away.

Larry J. Clark 04.08.10 | 6:35 AM ET

Five out of those Seven.  I gotta start thinking out of the box.

But seriously, folks.  When I was in Paris in October, working my way eastward from the Eiffel Tower, it was like being mobbed by a pack of photographic lemmings.  At every street or path that crossed that big lawn thingy—another pod of snap-shooters.  If you could have harnessed the electrical energy from all those digital cameras, you’d be able to power a small town in the Midwest for, perhaps, minutes!

Travelling Cheri 04.13.10 | 6:31 AM ET

London is considered as the number one city in Europe when it comes to the number of tourists that visit it each year. Maybe that is the reason why the list goes to London. But i don’t really agree with it.

Larry J. Clark 04.13.10 | 9:57 PM ET

A factor in this analysis may be *which* objects to photograph.  In other words, popular destinations get the density of people, but are there factors which compel them to take the photos?  (Or am I over-thinking this?)

But come on folks…Paris, London, and NYC?  Those are the 600 pound gorillas of destination cities.  Which other cities get close?

Red 04.15.10 | 12:43 PM ET

They should rename this study “the 7 most photographed landmarks on flickr”, nice list but not impressive in how they extrapolate it to the world. They only used “geotagged” photos from Flickr. They should compare it to results from SmugMug, Panoramio, etc… 04.21.10 | 9:41 AM ET

To count photos on Flickr would mean that those are sights visited by tourists who are using Flickr. Because I am missing Asian tourist attractions on the list I guess that they don’t use Flickr as much…

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