What’s Behind It? A Look Behind the World’s Wonders

Posted By on Feb 20, 2012 in Africa, Asia, Europe | 8 comments

Saint Peter's Vatican CityThe famous monuments of the world are icons that nearly everyone can describe without actually visiting.  Millions of photos of these attractions fill up guidebooks, blog posts, news articles, and internet resources; so much so that a few have become so large that they are cliche to even talk about in most situations.  But have you ever taken the time to wonder – what is behind these wonders?This photo essay is served to take a 180 degree turn in order to see what the other direction of the world’s top wonders look like.  In many cases, the opposite direction is not as rosy as you may think.

The Pyramids of Egypt

Everyone knows the great Sphinx and Pyramids of Egypt.  Without seeing this scene you are probably able to recall this image in your mind just by someone prompting you.  But have you ever seen what is behind this iconic photo?  It turns out that it is streets, business, a KFC, and a Pizza Hut.  Yes, that Pizza Hut.

Sphynx and Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt
Pizza Hut and KFC Behind the Pyramids at Cairo, Egypt

The Sacre Coeur of Paris

You may be wondering why we chose the Sacre Coeur of Paris and not one of the city’s more famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame.  It is not that they do not have any interesting images to show a 180 degree spectrum on, it is more due to the fact that we quite literally do not have any photos to illustrate them.  Sacre Coeur is a great choice for this feature; however, as it is one of the only attractions in the city that has the city itself as a beautiful background view.

Sacre Coeur of Paris, France
The view of Paris, France, from the Sacre Coeur

The Skyline at Shanghai

One of my favorite skylines in the world is Shanghai.  Amazing buildings, colorful lights, and the fact that you are so perfectly separated from it by the river makes it a unique spot anywhere in the world.  Behind the skyline of Shanghai is the neighborhood of The Bund, with lit up buildings that are reminiscent of a London neighborhood. Definitely not what you would expect!

The Shanghai skyline of China
The Bund of Shanghai, China

St Peters Basilica in Vatican City

Finally, for those who may be wondering what the 180 degree view is while atop St Peters Basilica that was shown at the beginning of the post, well, it is the basilica dome itself!  But do not be fooled by the size of this photo, these domes are massive and the largest dome featured here is the tallest in the world.

So next time you are out exploring the world, don’t just get drawn into the major attractions that are in-front of you.  Turn around!  You never know what hidden gems or cultural oddities you may find hiding in the background.  They may end up being something you never expect and could easily miss if you did not take a moment to look the other way.

The dome of Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Where have you traveled that has a great view only captured by doing a complete 180?  Comment below and let us know!


Jeremy founded Living the Dream in 2008 to chronicle his long-term trip around Asia. Since then he has been on two long-term trips, visited 67 countries, and is just getting started. With a love of food and adventure, he can be found traveling the world with his wife Angie.

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  1. so interesting! I had heard that about Cairo, but its great to see the others. :)

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  2. Great idea for a post! I actually went to that KFC by the pyramids and up on rooftop for some amazing views when the pyramid area itself was closed :)

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  3. Thanks Stephanie – glad to hear you liked it! I definitely encourage everyone to turn around when traveling an actively try and appreciate the beauty (or oddities) in all directions. Capturing it on a photo is a great way to make sure you don’t forget it!

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  4. This is great! I’m going to have to start capturing photos like this.

    Glad Amanda listed this post in her monthly roundup. Always fun to discover a good travel blog.

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  5. Thanks Amanda! I definitely am looking forward to continuing this series in the future. Problem is I have 30,000 photos and only a handful that are complete 180s!

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  6. Such a cool post! My favorite was the Pizza Hut at the Pyramids… definitely not what I expected!

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  7. Thanks Monica! I wanted to take a different spin to the same photos we see time and time again. While it is pretty easy to notice the background at some of these places, other major tourists spots it is not. The temples of Angkor Wat or the Forbidden City in Beijing come to mind. You walk in a straight path for hours, but if you do not stop to look behind you every once in a while you may miss something amazing!

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  8. Love this post. I’d never even thought about what would be on the other side of all these amazing monuments but now you’ve got me thinking :)

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