Whenever we travel, we’re sure to collect memories of our adventures. One of the most common ways we do this is by taking photographs of the different places we’ve visited.
Once we get home, these pictures not only remind us of our experiences abroad, but they help share the story of our trip with others. We really rely on photographs!
That’s why it’s so crazy that, in many of the world’s most famous places, photography is totally forbidden. Check out these 15 places where people have tried to sneak photos and wound up with a slap on the wrist—or serious jail time.
1. The Sistine Chapel: This gorgeous church in the heart of Italy’s Vatican City is known for its amazing religious-themed frescos. Photography is absolutely forbidden—the flash will wear down the art—but that doesn’t stop people from sneakily snapping selfies.
2. The Presidential Palace: When they say “no photographs” in the United Arab Emirates, they really mean no photographs! An American architect who was visiting Abu Dhabi was actually arrested for taking a photo of the Presidential Palace. Yikes!
3. Yas Marina Circuit: Speaking of Abu Dhabi, the Yas Marina Circuit is the home of its famous Grand Prix. Fame aside, photography is still forbidden. In 2011, two Bangladeshi tourists were arrested for their snaps of the racetrack.
4. Valley of the Kings: If you’re touring Egypt, you’ll likely visit the Valley of the Kings to check out the country’s famous pyramids and ancient tombs. Photography is against the law there, but people still try and sneak photographs inside, like this one.
5. The Dolmabahçe Palace: In the 19th century, this palace was the seat of the Ottoman Empire. Located in Turkey, the sumptuous palace boasts many exquisite sights. But don’t take pictures of any of them! It’s definitely against the law.
6. The Rosslyn Chapel: If you’ve seen The DaVinci Code, you’re probably familiar with this ornate Scottish chapel. Maybe it really can help you unlock theological mysteries and that’s why they don’t allow any photos?
7. Westminster Abbey: This is one religious building that almost everyone has heard about. From the weddings of English royalty to their funerals, this church is central to English history. Preserving it is critical, that’s why there’s no photography allowed.
8. Vladimir Lenin’s Mausoleum: If you find your travels taking you to Moscow’s Red Square, you can snap all of the photographs you like. That is, until you visit the actual tomb of Lenin. At that point, all photographs are strictly off-limits.
9. Taj Mahal: Visitors to India often pause to take their photograph in front of this famous memorial. While the exterior might be familiar, the interior isn’t. That’s because no one is allowed to snap a picture once they go inside!
10. Golden Gai: This popular Japanese neighborhood in Tokyo is known for its tiny bars and restaurants. You aren’t supposed to take photographs on the street, but this is most likely a bygone law from the days when prostitution was rampant.
11. The Library of Congress: With more than 70,000 volumes, this is one heck of a library! If you ever go to Washington, D.C., you can visit the Library of Congress, but put that camera away because there are no photos allowed.
12. 30 Rock Studio: If you have ever watched an episode of Saturday Night Live, then you’ve seen the inside of the 30 Rock studios in New York City. Sadly, that’s as close as you’ll ever get since they have a strict “no cameras” policy.
13. The Supreme Court: While these Washington, D.C. judges have their own chambers and courtrooms, this is one area you will likely never see—unless you happen to be presenting them with an oral argument to defend a case!
14. The Alamo: People often visit this historic battle site in San Antonio, Texas, and take photographs of its exterior. However, taking photographs of the inside of the Alamo? That’s a serious no-no, even though people try! Can you imagine how awesome it would be?
15. The Crown Jewels: Located in the Tower of London, these jewels have belonged to the English monarchs since the 14th century. They are tightly guarded from theft—and from the flashing lights of your camera.
Did you have any idea that so many famous places refuse to let you take photographs? This will definitely change the way you plan your next big trip!
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