Taking photos of every sight, tourist attraction and iconic structure in a country is something of a necessity when you travel. For those who like to scrapbook their adventures or document their journeys online, a photo of yourself standing in front of a famous landmark is a necessity.
However, very few travellers, new and seasoned alike, are aware that there is an array of countries where it is illegal to photograph famous tourist attractions.
1. The Eiffel Tower at night
Thanks to European copyright law, works by artists, designers and architects are protected until 70 years after the death of the creator. The designer of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel, died in 1923, so it’s perfectly legal to photograph the tower during the day. However, Pierre Bideau, the artists who added the lights to the tower is still alive, it’s technically illegal to photograph the tower when it’s all lit up.
2. The Atomic Sculpture
This tourist attraction is covered by the same copyright laws as the Eiffel Tower.
3. The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
Protected by bombproof glass, more than 100 hidden CCTV cameras and guards stationed at every door, you’ll find that taking a photo of The Crown Jewels is banned.
Sichuan Province, China
Photographing the pandas that live in Sichuan Province in China was made illegal in order to preserve the population of this endangered animal. The law was brought in to deter tourist from getting too close to get a panda with the pandas.
5. Emirates Palace Hotel
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates copyright law enforces that the subject of photo has legal rights to the image, not the photographer. As such, many areas in the UAE banned photography, such as palaces, bridges, government areas and this hotel.
6. Planes over Mai Khao Beach
Thanks to the close proximity of the Phuket International Airport to Mai Khao beach, many tourists have been able to snap themselves with a low-flying plane. However, this practice has become illegal (punishable by death!) in order to reduce distractions for the pilots and improve tourist safety.
7. Shinjuku Golden Gai District
Known for being a popular drinking area of small streets packed with mini bars where only 4 to 6 people can fit in alongside the bartender, the Golden Gai District in Tokyo is heavily signed with ‘photography banned’ warnings.
North Korea has only just started allowing state-approved tourist groups into the country, and photographing pretty much anything is illegal.
9. Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park
Northern Territory, Australia
It’s illegal to photograph Uluru (or Ayer’s Rock) for commercial purposes, which includes social media.
10. Inside the Taj Mahal
Photography is prohibited within the main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, as are drones. Furthermore, Mobile phones are also banned for night viewing of the Taj Mahal.
11. The Valley of the Kings
The famous walk forbids tourists from photographing the sights, with fines up to AU$161 handed out to offenders.
12. Rosslyn Chapel
Although scenes from The Da Vinci Code were filmed here and Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most iconic landmarks in Scotland, Official banned tourist from photographing the structure to prevent visitors from injuring themselves. Officials say a growing number of people are tripping or falling while trying to take pictures of ornate carvings on the ceiling.
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