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Europe’s most visited tourist attractions

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Over 500 million tourists travel to Europe every year. The continent thus attracts around half of the global tourist volume. We show a selection of the top sights.

France Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral

Notre Dame, Paris

The Gothic cathedral in the heart of the French capital was made famous by the novel by Victor Hugo “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Here are the remains of the Sun King Louis XIV. Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France here. The huge nave offers space for 10,000 visitors.

National Day in France July 14, 2013

Louvre, Paris

An old museum, but far ahead in the new media: the Louvre, with around 1,783,000 Facebook fans, is now more popular than the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which still led the ranking at the beginning of the year. Maybe it’s because the Louvre website also offers virtual tours. Nevertheless, 9.26 million visitors wanted to visit the museum personally last year.

Image gallery: works by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Eighteen towers will adorn the Catalan cathedral once – when it is finished. Since its creator Antoni Gaudí started work in 1882, the Sagrada Familia has been a construction site. However, one that is admired by thousands of visitors every day. The stone pillars inside are modeled on trees, the vault a leaf canopy.

Spain - Alhambra in Granada

Alhambra, Granada

The palace is an impressive example of Moorish architecture on the Iberian Peninsula. Highlights include the Löwenhof with its fountain and lush gardens. In the 13th century, the rulers of the Emirate of Granada started building it. Today the Alhambra is one of the most popular attractions for tourists to Spain.

St. Peter's Square in front of St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

“Saint Peter in the Vatican” is the full name of the basilica of the papal residence. The magnificent church building holds 20,000 people, making it one of the largest in the world. Famous artists like Michelangelo designed the interior. Originally, Alt-St. Peter the Church of the Holy Sepulcher of the Apostle Peter, the first bishop of Rome. Many popes were later buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Rome Colosseum

Colosseum, Rome

Anyone who delves into the history of this 2,000-year-old Roman stadium will get the creep: Not only did gladiators hack with sword and ax, but imperators also tore apart unwanted subjects from wild animals. The ancient horror shows have drawn up to 50,000 onlookers into the world’s largest amphitheater for centuries.

London British Museum

British Museum, London

When it was founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first public national museum in the world. It grants free admission for all “curious and curious people”. In the reading room that was later set up, Karl Marx and Lenin supplied themselves with intellectual ammunition against the capitalist system of their host country.

National Gallery in London

National Gallery, London

The British National Gallery houses a large collection of Western European paintings that were made between the 13th and 19th centuries. It is open almost every day of the year with free admission. Here visitors can marvel at the pictures of Van Gogh, Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt and many other masters.

Cologne cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne

In 1248 the centuries-long construction of a masterpiece of Gothic architecture began in the city on the Rhine. When the cathedral was finally completed in 1880, it was considered the largest building in the world. Today six million people visit Cologne Cathedral, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, every year.

Picture gallery castles in Europe Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau

The Bavarian King Ludwig II wanted a knight’s castle in the medieval style. He did not experience the opening in 1886, but his fairytale castle is now a magnet for visitors. It is perched on a rock spur in the Allgäu mountains. The buoyant monarch was inspired by the Wartburg in Thuringia.

Picture gallery castles in Europe Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

From the middle of the 15th century, the Topkapi Palace was a center of power for the Ottoman Empire. The complex is divided into four courtyards that serve different purposes. Up to 5000 people lived and worked here like in a small town.

Turkey Hagia Sophia in Istanbul sunrise

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

The Eastern Roman emperor Justinian had the Sophienkirche built in 532 as a Christian church. It should be on par with the magnificent buildings of the western Roman neighboring empire. The emperor allegedly invested a huge gold treasure in the building. It became the property of the Ottomans in 1453 after the conquest of Byzantium. The Islamic rulers turned the church into a mosque.

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