Robert Frost once wrote “nothing gold can stay,” and tragically, he was right! The world is spotted with a million and one interesting and beautiful places to visit, but unfortunately, as time has passed, they’ve changed — and not always for the better.
The 20 following locations were once considered to be so beautiful they could bring tears to your eyes. Now, though, they’re mere shadows of their former glory, places only our grandparents really got a chance to see. But you’re in luck: we’re launching a tour of these past landmarks, and revisiting them in their primes…
1. Italy’s Cinque Terra region was once a hidden gem along the Mediterranean, but that’s not the case today. In fact, the villages have grown so overcrowded officials placed a strict 1.5 million visitor cap each year. Many more will try to explore Cinque Terra annually but will be turned away.
2. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake ravaged Nepal in 2015, and among its most devastating casualties was the Dharahara Tower. Most of its 200 feet crumbled to the ground, and authorities later discovered the collapse of the Kathmandu monument took sixty human lives.
3. Niger’s Tree of Ténéré was certainly not the most easily accessible tourist attraction. The Acacia became famous as the only tree for a 250-mile radius in the Sahara Desert, so it served as a key landmark for travelers. Against all odds, a drunk driver ran down the tree in 1973.
4. Global warming is killing the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world. Increased temperature brought about waves of coral bleaching, and now only a small fraction of the reef still exists in its original beauty. Aside from tourism, this destruction also threatens the environmental stability of the region.
5. Opening in 1976, Disney’s River Country was the company’s first try at a water park. The slides and pools fell into disrepair over the years, and Disney closed the park in 2001. River Country sat dormant near the Magic Kingdom until 2018, when Disney announced plans for a new, nature-themed park on the site.
6. No, you’re not looking at Candyland. These are the Pink and White Terraces, formed by gigantic silica deposits in New Zealand. The brightly colored mountainsides were the country’s most popular tourist destination for decades. The volcanic eruption of the nearby Mount Tarawera, however, buried these natural wonders in 1886.
7. The Pioneer Cabin Tree was once the most famous tree in America. Many years ago, a mountain man hollowed out the base of the ancient sequoia tree into a house before a different owner widened it into a tunnel. Countless cars passed through the tree before a storm toppled it in 2017.
Facebook / Andrew Chevalier
8. Paris is full of must-see sites, but Pont des Arts became one of the most popular thanks to one romantic tradition. Lovestruck couples wrote their initials on padlocks and fixed them to the pedestrian bridge’s railing. By 2015, the locks’ collective weight threatened to collapse the bridge, and Paris hauled over one million of them away.
9. Well over 4 million people visit the Statue of Liberty every year, but none of them ever get up to her torch. It’s been that way for quite a while. An act of German sabotage during World War I damaged Lady Liberty’s arm, and authorities have barred anyone from climbing to her highest point ever since.
10. Bolivia’s 18,000-year-old Chacaltaya Glacier was once the highest glacier on Earth. While thousands of skiers visited it every year, the ice began melting at an alarming rate in the 1980s. By 2009, the glacier was completely gone. These days, the mountain only hosts a research observatory and the ruins of old resorts.
11. The Great Wall of China may have stopped the Mongols, but it can’t defeat time. A combination of natural forces and human activity reduced about one-third of the wall to rubble. Most of the remnants are in poor condition and will certainly fall apart if China doesn’t take care to protect one of its greatest monuments.
12. Hidden within the Exuma region of the Bahamas is Pig Beach, an island overrun with a colony of feral porcine critters. However, once tourists got word of this adorable locale, they surged into the island and went Instagram-crazy. Ever since then, the pig population has dwindled.
13. Guaíra Falls, located between Paraguay and Brazil, was one of the most massive waterfalls on Earth. Scientists estimate that up to 13 million gallons of water flowed down it every second. Unfortunately, construction of the Itaipu Dam in 1982 submerged the falls under a lake for the rest of time.
14. Violence in the Middle East is crushing many of the region’s most treasured cultural sites, including the Umayyad Mosque. Explosions during the Syrian Civil War knocked down its famous minaret and damaged its medieval artwork. While many called for the mosque’s reconstruction, by late 2018, it was a shadow of its former glory.
15. Businessman Adolpho Sutro debuted San Francisco’s Sutro Baths in 1896. Despite its popularity, high operation costs prevented Sutro from turning a profit. Real estate developers bought the baths in 1964 and planned to replace them with an apartment complex until a fire — likely due to arson — destroyed it in 1966.
16. Although East Berlin wasn’t a place most tourists flocked to during the Cold War, the other side of the Berlin Wall was a sight of morbid curiosity for the Western World. It became more of a spectacle when rock stars like David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen played concerts near it. The wall finally came down in 1990.
17. Palisades Park opened back in 1898 with trolleys as its main attraction. Various owners added more exciting rides in the following decades, highlighted by the famous Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster. However, the old-fashioned amusement park couldn’t handle modern traffic and crowds, and it shuttered its doors in 1971.
18. Frederic Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy’s masterpiece, Luna Park, made Coney Island an unparalleled tourist attraction in the early 1900s. The Great Depression and multiple fires forced the amusement park to close in 1944. A new Luna Park opened in 2010, though it will never be the same as the original.
19. Nobody — unless you ask an alien conspiracist — knows the origins of the Nazca Lines, gigantic drawings in the ground in Peru. What is for certain is that these sprawling pictures of monkeys, birds, and other creatures are wearing away from natural disasters and human interference. One guy even drove his truck straight through the spider below!
International Business Times
20. The black sands of Kaimu Beach in Hawaii drew tourists from all over the world until 1990. A massive volcanic eruption covered the town and shores in up to 50 feet of lava. However, some Hawaiians started building on top of the reformed ground, so maybe someday there will be a new Kaimu Beach to enjoy.
21. Morocco’s Legzira Beach is beautiful enough on its own, but it was once world-famous for its two natural arches. Visitors used to love to explore them during low tide until one arch fell in 2016. Experts sadly say that the second one isn’t far behind.
It is a real shame that these vacation destinations are gone. They all look amazing!
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