The Roman Coliseum, Agra’s Taj Mahal, and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral all classify as iconic monuments throughout the globe that provide invaluable insight into each destination and its longstanding history and vibrant culture. Though these structures and many more grace every traveler’s bucket list, and are well on the tourist trail, a plethora of these world icons’ facts remain little known and unbelievable to visitors.

The Statue of Liberty’s Crown is Symbolic

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The 151-foot tall Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the people of America in 1886 to commemorate the thriving friendship formed between the two nations during the American Revolution, and has since been widely recognized as America’s enduring symbol of freedom and democracy. Designed by dedicated French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the seven spikes on Lady Liberty’s crown draw on two different meanings.

While many believe they represent the light that radiates from her halo due to her identity as Roman Goddess Libertas, others believe the spikes represent the seven seas and seven continents of the world that represent universal liberty. Visitors to the copper statue’s crown face an arduous climb of 354 winding steps, equivalent to ascending 20 stories. The reward at its summit is a sweeping panorama of the New York Harbor and the city’s glittering skyline. For guaranteed access to experience Lady Liberty’s crown, reserve online six months prior to your visit.

The Eiffel Tower Expands and Contracts

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Originally built for the 1889 World’s Fair, the elegant design of the symbol of Paris is credited to Eiffel et Compagnie, an architectural firm owned by renowned civil engineer Gustave Eiffel. At the time of its completion, until the construction of New York City’s Chrysler Building in 1930, the Eiffel Tower stood as the world’s tallest structure. Measuring an average of 324 meters from its base to the tip of its spire, the height of the Eiffel Tower varies by as much as 6.75 inches throughout the year, fluctuating in accordance to seasonal temperatures. Composed almost entirely of wrought iron, thermal expansion causes Paris’ signature attraction to grow in the summertime, and thermal contraction causes it to shrink in the wintertime.

United Kingdom Residents Can Tour the Big Ben

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Completed in 1859, the Elizabeth Tower, more commonly referred to as Big Ben, is one of London’s star attractions. While Elizabeth Tower is the name given to the iconic 315-foot tower of Parliament, Big Ben technically refers to the 13.7 ton bell that hangs inside, the largest of five. Beginning in 2010, United Kingdom residents gained the privilege to tour the tower on the condition that they are sponsored by a Member of Parliament, but access to international visitors remain restricted amid security concerns. The lucky chosen residents for an up-close encounter with one of the world’s most recognizable clocks must conquer a spiraling staircase of 334 stone steps. However, due to a $77 million renovation project initiated in 2017, tours have been suspended until its projected 2021 re-opening.