We tend to think that it doesn’t matter if we’re going to visit a monument now or in 10 years, it will still be there. But… it doesn’t always apply… Overcrowding can sometimes obligue local authorities to make some changes such as ban visits or limit them. Let’s see some examples.
1) The Ise Grand Shrine, Japan
This place is considered the Shintoism’s most holy site, and in keeping with Shinto’s principles of death, renewal and impermanence, they are rebuilt every 20 years. So, you can only visit the outer shrines, the main shrine buildings are hidden away, and can only be entered by a few select priests and members of the imperial family.
2) Boracay, the Philippines
From the 1980s this island has become a paradise for beaches lovers. But local problems such as, unregulated development and sewage pipes dumping raw effluent into the sea have ended in the island being closed off to tourists for around 6 months.
3) Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, New Zealand
This was the perfect spot for hikers who love trekking on the ice. However, since the glaciers have been suffering a fast melting, they have banned the visits there, and the only way on to the glacier now is taking a he licopter flight.
4) The Lascaux Caves, France
Since its discovery in 1940 they have only offered wonderful surprises such as 600 wall paintings from 17,000 years ago, bringing huge amounts of visitors. But, of course, with so many people visiting, coughing and sweating, the raise in temperature along with the humidity and carbon dioxide from breathing, and other contaminants, brought in by the crowds meant that the paintings started to go a bit moldy. So, to avoid the visible deterioration the caves were closed to the public in 1963
5) Stonehenge, Britain
If you were imagining yourself walking among the stones and feeling the magic as an outlander character, forget it. Authorities have put ropes around the site. So now, you will only see them from the outside and among the crowd, of course.
6) Maya Beach, Thailand
This wonderful beach on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh where that Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach was recorded underwent a four-month tourist ban to try to protect its reefs and sea life. It has now also been capped at 2000 tourists a day, as well as a ban on boats being able to anchor there.
7) The Trevi Fountain, Rome
This incredible italian fountain has suffered so much abuse from tourist, that the government has been forced to establish restrictive measures. Now, if you simply sit on the edge to eat or drink or, of course, try to swim inside, you will have to pay a fine. Just try to remember that next time you visit.
8) Surtsey, Iceland
This island emerged in 1963 from volcano eruptions. However it has been suffering a lot of erosion since then. That’s why it’s going to be opened only for scientists with special permits that want to study plant and animal life there.
9) Taj Mahal, India
This is the monument that we all want to see because of its beauty and love symbolism. However, you must know that now they have limited tours of three-hours a time. They’ve also reduced the selling of tickets from 70,000 to 40,000.
10) Chichen Itza, Mexico
If you were thinking about climbing up the centrepiece El Castillo, forget about it. This pyramid was closed off to trampling visitors after a woman died falling from it in 2006. The access to the throne room is also closed off from tourists.
Did you visit any of these sites before they were banned?