These Are Tourist Attractions Where Photography Is Banned, So Don't Bring Your Camera In
Most of these places where photography is banned are ALSO the most commonly photographed sites in the world! Go figure.
It is natural for most of us travellers now to whip out our cameras and smartphones wherever we are to snap a picture for memory sake. But did you know that it’s pretty common to have photography banned at tourist attractions?
Indeed, there are many stunning places that travellers from all around the world pay a visit to that do not allow photography.
Photography banned at tourist attractions: 13 places around the world
1. The Sistine Chapel
Right before you enter the Sistine Chapel, you will have to go through a short briefing where the guards will tell you that photography is not allowed. You might think that this is one of the tourist attractions where photography is banned as the flash from the cameras could affect the quality of the frescoes.
That may be partly true, but it is actually because Japan’s Nippon Television Network Corporation has the exclusive rights to photograph and video the chapel, after paying for the restoration of the artworks 20 years ago.
2. The Eiffel Tower
What?! You wouldn’t think that on this list of photography banned at tourist attractions, one of the most photographed landmarks in the world would make an appearance. But that’s just the case here.
The ban is effective when the Eiffel Tower is lit up at night. During this time, it is considered an art installation. That means it is protected by copyright! So, you’re not supposed to be posting photos of it online. But, thankfully, daytime shots are still okay!
3. Westminster Abbey
Yes, another iconic building is on the list! Many people still take plenty of shots when outside the Westminster Abbey. While the ban is not exactly in full effect, the Church believes that the integrity of the building is damaged with the distraction that widespread photography brings. It has even uploaded a gallery of photos on its website that visitors can download for personal use.
4. The Alamo, Texas
The Alamo is a historic building and considered to be a shrine to the liberty of Texas. While you may take shots of the building from the outside, absolutely no photos are permitted inside. As a sign of respect, you must also lower your voices when speaking, and those wearing hats must remove them before entering.
5. Michelangelo’s David, Florence
Here’s another widely photographed site in Italy that is banned from photography. You can get up close and personal with the magnificent statue, but no photos are allowed here. If you bring a camera in, you will be told rather sternly by the guards on standby that no photos are allowed. Try to shoot a photo here and you can be guaranteed a not-so-friendly escort out.
6. Taj Mahal
You would be surprised to see just how many places on this list are also on the list of the most photographed places in the world! But yes, the Taj Mahal is restricted from photography — but only on the inside.
The inside of the Taj Mahal is a tomb. Of course, it is disrespectful to photograph a place of resting. Therefore, strict rules are enforced and guards are stationed everywhere to prevent anyone sneaking a shot.
7. Jiangsu National Security Education Museum
Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), one of the places where photography is banned is in China. However, this place has imposed a ban — with good reason. The Jiangsu National Security Education Museum actually houses a lot of local spy gear and documents dating back to 1927.
Only Chinese nationals are allowed to visit the museum. But if by some chance you do get to enter, you definitely won’t be taking home any photo souvenirs.
8. Jewel House, London
Many tourists flock to the Tower of London to see where the famed Crown Jewels are kept. But no one is allowed to take pictures of the breathtaking array of jewels.
The jewels are protected by bombproof glass and are kept under the watchful eye of the guards. In fact, the guards are accompanied by more than 100 security cameras.
9. Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
North Korea is not exactly known for its freedom. So there is no surprise here to know that you can’t photograph the Kumususan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang. It is the mausoleum of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
Before entering, visitors must check in all their belongings apart from their wallet. Then, they are led through a dust-blowing machine to ensure no dust is carried into the room. Only then will they be allowed to enter the space where the former heads of state lie in their transparent crystal sarcophagi.
10. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
It is pretty hard to impose a ban on photography at a nature site, especially one that is Australia’s most famous landmarks. But the Ayers Rock is actually protected against commercial use. The Anangu, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the Uluru-Kata Tjutu park, believe that certain sites, ritual objects, and ceremonies should be restricted from being filmed.
Perhaps as a sign of respect, it is best to just enjoy the natural site with your eyes and keep those vivid images in your memory rather than desperately trying to get a shot just for the ‘gram.
11. Valley of the Kings
In a spiritual place such as Egypt, there are many rules to follow. One rule that you would not want to break is photographing at the Valley of the Kings. Not only would you not want to anger any lingering spirits, but you also won’t want to pay a hefty fine.
Those who wish to enter the tombs and monuments will be searched thoroughly for photography equipment. If you are found to have snuck in a camera, that’s a E£2,000 (US$115) fine.
12. The Library at the Abbey of Saint Gall
The library was founded in 719 and is one of the oldest libraries in the world. The library stores manuscripts dating from before the year 1,000, making its contents incredibly precious. You won’t be allowed to bring your camera inside and you must wear soft shoes to protect the floors too.
13. Golden Gai, Tokyo
Interestingly, this public place in Shinjuku, Tokyo is a place where photography is banned. This is likely a spillover effect from when prostitution was common in the area. Today, this tiny network of alleyways houses around 290 bars. It’s a relic from old Tokyo and where visitors go to experience a traditional Japanese city night out.
Featured photo: Shutterstock
What do you think of photography banned at tourist attractions? Let us know in the comments.
Read more travel related articles here.