A place to grieve, a place to cherish and a place for memories—memorials hold such an importance in the lives of many. They exist to help think onwards to the future. We are most used to personal memorials like marble headstones or a more bespoke monument. Some are more private than others. Some are on display for the public to see and be involved in.
Around the world, there are a number of famous memorial sites that offer beautiful landscapes of sites that attract tourists from everywhere. Usually in such public places, the memorials are dedicated to notable figures in history or account for remembering tragic events from the past.
At Evrmemories, memorials hold deep importance for how life goes on after losing a loved on. This article serves the purpose of educating and informing those on famous memorials around the world, and how well they do for people looking to grieve and remember in healthy, beautiful ways.
A memorial service is a ceremony that memorializes and honors the deceased after the body has been cremated or buried. A memorial site is where the main service would take place, or will be set in stone as the area for remembrance.
Sometimes after a tragic event in the world, a memorial site would be situated where the event took place. Public memorials are landscapes which make it possible to keep past events alive in the common memory through physical representation in public areas.
Public memorials, which remember the events and the pain they caused to the public through (civil) war, terrorism, genocide, etc. All of this generates urban identity.
The difference between a memorial service and a funeral involves separate traditions. A funeral usually has the body present in a casket whereas at a memorial, this is not the case. There will sometimes be an urn to embody those who had passed.
Both traditional funeral services and memorial services have structure, and most importantly, bring the community together in support and remembrance. Funerals can also be quite religious. Not always, but some times religion can take place in how they are organized. This would include stricter rules and structure in place according to the religion followed.
Let us compare now a celebration of life and a memorial. These two can also often get confused. Similar to funerals and memorials, celebrations of life involve remembering a loved one.
Memorial sites are set in one geographical location, whereas celebrations of life are considered events that take place. They can be seen as “parties” because of how personalized and uplifting they can be. In this sense, memorials and celebrations of life are similar.
Memorials are special for families. They can be small, public or even considered a tourist attraction for their significance in history and culture. The more personal memorials can include gifts and packages from closer family and friends. Everlasting Memories brings in special notes and guides on these types of gifts and memorials. With personalized items, gifts become even more symbolic.
Memorial and monument are not the same thing, but the words are regularly used interchangeably. Therefore, technically, a memorial is a structure that is intended to celebrate the memory of a person or event. A monument is a structure built for symbolic or commemorative reasons that can be used as a memorial or at a memorial site. The common terms for memorials are: headstone, gravestone, tombstone, monument or full monument.
Although we are currently speaking of large, public memorial sites, these are not the only type of memorial to be chosen. It is also good to look at other versions of memorials and what makes up a memorial.
Other memorials that people enjoy visiting and creating are roadside memorials. These are much more personal for a less-famous figure in society. Usually, at accident sites, you would see markers around the area.
Different from a gravesite, the roadside memorial honors the deceased in a way that marks where they passed away, and does not mark the location of where a body is buried. To learn more about these types of memorials, check out our complete guide on roadside memorials.
A monument is a structure that has been erected to commemorate a person or event that has passed. Often times, monuments are placed over a person’s grave. A monument generally refers to the entire physical memorial which could entail a selection of things such as a headstone with base—this would be called a ‘full monument’.
They also are involved with culture and how many cultures around the world choose to grieve and pay their respects to figures in society. This type of memorial is more elaborate than your standard plaque or headstone.
It is what you would usually see at famous memorial sites because of the fullness behind its physical stature. They also feature full-length slab covering the entire grace.
The base/slab identifies the full monument. Along with this, full monuments can include accessories that are often added including crucifixes and other religious motifs, vases and flowers.
Known for being in the public eye, memorials hold significance in every which way. They stand for justice, equality, remembrance and grievance. All of these factors are what make a memorial famous.
It is about what they stand for, who they stand for and who visits them to keep the sites relevant. Serving as a final gift to the figure or event that is represented, this type of honor is a special one that is reserved for significant features in society. Famous memorials became a part of a community or society, which builds character and importance to the generational input on cities around the world.
What comes with famous monuments is more than just representing the event or person itself, but the ideas, values, religious or political statements as well. These statements reflect on the city and the culture within that country.
Monuments or memorials get vandalized or damaged sometimes. This is an act of rebellion against what those sites mean to people and to their community. It is these types of memorials that are created with purpose for permanence.
The processes can involve an entire community raising funds, forming committees and selecting designers, sculptors or architects for the structures. All of this effort and sacred meaning comes into play with making a memorial famous.
As a result of this attention by being famous, memorials convey forceful messages and raise contentious questions such as:
Conflict is a normal thing in society and with memorials it is no different. The messages given by such public events can divide people in what they believe or think of a past event or person. Without knowing the full history of why a memorial or monument exists, tourists or individuals maybe read a blurb on the headstones and believe that is the full story, or at least, the gist of it.
Over the years, especially recently, there has been uprise with some memorials honouring historical figures that cause conflict between the city and its people. An example of this is what happened quite recently in the news in Toronto, Canada. Ryerson University, located in the heart of the city of Toronto, hosted a monument of historical figure Egerton Ryerson for decades as a main attraction to the university.
The figure had a role in the establishment of Ryerson University, but also his role in the creation of the Canadian Indian Residential school system. Around 2010, criticism about why such a figure is still being respected and represented on school campus arose.
People were starting to learn about his past, confused as to why a statue still stood tall without proper acknowledgement for the real messages and statements the historical event displays. Although in 2018 Ryerson displayed a new plaque addressing such issues, it was not enough.
The statue was beheaded and destroyed by protesters earlier this year once new evidence came out regarding the findings of unmarked graveyards belonging to Indigenous children.
It is conflict like this, political up-war like this, that adds controversy to why memorials or monuments are created for certain historical figures. Another one of those forceful questions that was asked in this situation—how long should a memorial be in place for?—was answered here: 132 years, and it won’t be the only one with a time limit.
Whether the memorial you wish to visit belongs to a famous person or someone less in the public eye, there are many reasons to visit. Paying respects to any important person in your life is a natural, sacred thing to do. Although not everyone enjoys the process of seeing grief in front of you eyes again or being reminded of past events, the healing process that comes with visiting memorials is one to be grateful for.
Visiting the place where someone died can become even a huge part of your life for its possible significance to society, personal life or your community. Sometimes people only chose to visit memorials if a large group of others are also in attendance. The solidarity behind community attracts even more people to pay their respects and show support.
Visiting a memorial for war events or veterans is an even more noble approach to respect and support. It shows honor to the past tragedy, mostly for the country where possible wars took place. Memorials built to remember war veterans usually center around history and the education behind those events. They can be the best places to truly engage in learning about that piece of history.
The list of famous memorials around the world numbers into the hundreds. We chose a few of the more famous memorials to highlight and pay tribute to.
The 9/11 memorial is a tribute of remembrance , honoring the 2,977 American citizens killed in the terror attacks that happened on September 11, 2001. This event was one that shook the entire world. It has been investigated, made into movies, documentaries and series with actors and real survivors and loved one of those who passed from the attack.
These effects created some controversy within the country about what happened and why it happened. Just when everyone thought the attack itself was horrible to happen, the aftermath was and still is an occurrence that some people deal with every day.
In April 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched an international competition to choose a design for a permanent memorial honouring the tragic event. It was open to adults 18 and over and yielded 5,201 submissions from 63 countries.
It was a special way to look for special design that honored the victims, spoke to the needs of families who had lost loved ons and provided a beautiful space for reflection and healing.
In January 2004, the final design was chosen and submitted by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker. Their design features twin waterfall pools surrounded by bronze parapets that list the names of the victims. The victims honored are from the 9/11 attacks as well as those who passed from the 1993 world Trade Center Bombing.
These pools are set in a plaza where more than 400 swamp white oak trees grow on display. However, it was 10 years after the attack, on September 11, 2011 when the memorial opened.
The Oklahoma City bombing occurred when a truck packed with explosives was detonated on April 19, 1995, outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people and leaving hundreds more injured.
This all happened due to an anti-government militant named Timothy Mcveigh. In 2001, he was executed for his crimes while his co-conspirator Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.
It was a Ryder rental truck that exploded with a terrifying force in front of the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. An attack on the government led to the deaths of 19 children who were in the building’s child care center, along with 650 other people injured. The total death toll stood at 168 people.
The memorial museum holds exhibits and interactive displays to walk people through those moments from that day. The chaos, the healing, the justice and tough lessons are what this memorial accurately represents for its community. The website states that:
“The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum stands as a symbol of strength in the wake of unspeakable violence. Share our dream of a world without violence and terrorism. The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is a place of quiet reflection. The Memorial Museum is a place of amazing transformation. Each offers a unique insight into the events of April 19, 1995, but to truly experience this place of honor and hope, we strongly encourage you to visit both.”
This memorial is one for the USA’s citizens to appreciate and honor, naturally, as the figure of Abraham Lincoln was iconic in his time. As the 16th president of America, what Lincoln accomplished made history and people wanted to honor that success in their country. Unlike the last two famous memorials, this one does not have any relevance to tragedy or public event that took place on a specific geographical location. The Lincoln Memorial is located in Washington, D.C and includes a whole experience for visitors to see.
It towers over the Reflecting Pool, anchoring the western end of the National Mall. They say the best way to approach this memorial is from the east, by the Washington Monument and the National World War II Memorial.
The most beautiful part is the 36-column Greek-inspired architecture, surrounded by greenery. Those 36 columns represents one state in the U.S. at the date of President Lincoln’s death. The memorial itself is 190 feet long and 119 feet wide, reaching a height of almost 100 feet.
Not to forget the iconic statue of Lincoln himself, along with one of his most famous speeches in U.S history, The Gettysburg Address. That statue sits 19-feet tall, weighing 175 tonnes. He is looking over the Mall of the country he fought hard for. Construction for this site did not start until 1914 and it officially opened to the public in 1922.
The Washington Monument was designed by Robert Mills and eventually completed by Thomas Casey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Its purpose is to honor and memorialize George Washington, American’s first president, at the center of the nation’s capital. Another significant historical figure next to Lincoln, this monument is in instant reminder of the country’s history and leadership from important past presidents.
It is extremely significant as a famous site in the state because of Washington’s superb leadership and how he set the standard for each president that has succeeded him.
What is the structure like? Built in two phases, first between the years of 1848-1854 and then a public phase between the years of 1876-1884, it was designed in the shape of an Egyptian obelisk. This shape evokes the timelessness of ancient civilizations, embodying the awe, respect and gratitude the nation felt for its most essential founding father.
At the time of completion, this monument was the tallest building in the world at 555 feet, 5-1/8 inches.
The monument has even survived an earthquake on August 23, 2011. A number of cracks in the structure and shaking caused some of its mortar to loosen. It was not serious enough to cause harm to any visitors inside thankfully, and requires millions of dollars in repairs.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as a symbol of America’s honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. The significance behind it is quite tragic, but notable as with any war, there is honor in serving your country for peace or freedom.
Honoring the Vietnam War, the memorial includes black granite walls with inscribed names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing.
It is dedicated to embody the courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty to all those who served during one of the most divisive wars in American history.
The designer, Maya Lin, chose polished black granite for the walls. Its mirror-like surface reflects the images of the surrounding trees, lawns and monuments. The walls point to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. This adds to the effect of bringing the Memorial into the historical context of the country. The organization also is committed to finding a photo to go with each of the more than 58,000 names on The Wall.
As a symbolic and defining event of the 20th century, the second World War deserves recognition for those who served, lived through it, and currently serve in the armed forces of the U.S. The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.
It is a significant memorial because of its representation of the spirit, sacrifice and commitment of the American people during such a tragic time in their history. As with many wars, tragedy and honor took place and present day citizens wish to recognize what happened as a lesson and reminder of who they once were.
This memorial opened to the public in April of 2004. Located on 17th street, it is flanked by the Washington Monument to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west. As a famous site, it is open to the public 24 hours a day, all week long, welcoming visitors to pay their respects and participate in learning about the country’s war history.
What does it consist of? The memorial is simply 56 pillars surrounding a central fountain, where each pillar represents a state within the country at the time of the war. On each side of the monument, a northern “Atlantic” arch and a southern “Pacific” arch climb triumphantly towards the sky and a wall of over 4,000 stars reminds visitors of the price Americans paid to win the war.
The holocaust as a historical event is one of the most significant tragedies to have taken place. The genocide of Jewish people in Europe due to the German dictatorship led by Adolf Hitler occurred during World War II between the years of 1941 and 1945. It was Nazi Germany and its six collaborators who systematically murdered about six million jews across German-occupied Europe.
The memorial to remember the lives that were lost was established in 1999. It was not an easy decision to be made, as there were debates within the German parliament for quite some time. But, they reached a supportive conclusion that led to a central memorial site called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
There was a competition to design it, which was won by the New York architect Peter Eisenman. It officially opened in 2005.
The site is remarkably designed. Over a huge area of 19,000 square meters, 2711 concrete slabs of different heights that surround around 4 sides. Visitors can fully immerse themselves in the fully accessible spatial structure.
This openness was created with purpose, as the uneven concrete floor gives visitors a moment of uncertainty. That space confronts the topic of your own personal appreciation and experience, It is the central point of remembrance that this memorial focuses on and succeeded in.
The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58) to immortalize his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during childbirth in 1631. Located in India, it is the country’s most famous and widely recognized building. It is situated in the eastern part of the city on the southern bank of the Yamuna River.
This style of memorial is the type to commemorate one figure in history rather than an entire event that took place. It was also made for aesthetic reasons for the country and remains one of the most beautiful structural compositions in the world. It is visited by millions of tourists per year.
The structure rests in the middle of a wide plinth that is 23 feet high. The mausoleum proper is of white marble that reflects hues according to the intensity of sunlight of moonlight. The central dome reaches a height of 240 feet at the tip of its final and is surrounded by four lesser domes.
What is so beautiful about the vibe is how the acoustics inside the main dome cause the single note of a flute reverberate five times. Everything spiritual and special about the Taj Mahal has made the structure increasingly noteworthy as an Indian cultural symbol. This is where the significance of the memorial come into play within such a large society and community.
This famous monument of Egypt were built to endure an eternity for tombs of relics that belonged to Egypt’s Old Kingdom era. They were constructed about 4,500 years ago. To understand why this memorial site is significant we have to look at the specific culture and spirituality of Ancient Egypt. Egypt’s pharaohs expected to become gods in the afterlife. They created temples and massive pyramid tombs for themselves to prepare for the next world and filled them with all things each ruler would need.
Pharaoh Khufu began the first Giza pyramid project in circa 2550 B.C. It remains the largest in Giza, towering at 481 feet above the plateau. It is estimated 2.3 million stone blocks each weighing an average of 2.5 tons to 15 tons.
The construction of pyramids were extremely advanced and impressive for its time, and to this day, empower architects and designers with bug structures and monuments
In addition to the first pyramid, there were two more built. Khufu’s son, Pharaoh Khafre, built the second one, circa 2520 B.C which also included the famous Sphinx. Then, the third pyramid was built by Pharaoh Menkaure circa 2490 B.C and featured a much more complex mortuary temple.
Each one cis part of the larger complex and includes a palace, temples, solar boat pits and other amazing features. These pyramids were also built to honor important figures in Ancient Egypt, like the wives of the Pharaohs.
The atomic bombing of Hiroshima became one of the most tragic events of Japan in the 20th century at the time of World War II. It was the first atomic bomb in human history and occurred exactly at 8:15am on August 6th 1945.
The Atomic Bomb Dome in the location remains in tact which was the most shocking thing to happen at the time. It still stands today and that is where the memorial began. The residents of Hiroshima decided to keep this tragic reminder of the war intact and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1996.
The stories of survivors of this bombing have reached the public for decades and still do. The radiation that was exposed to all those citizens impacted their lives forever. The memorial was only one type of commemoration that was in honor of the victims of this brutal attack.
The atrium of the then Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was almost directly below the hypocenter of the bomb. Although the building sustained heavy damage, it managed to escape complete destruction.
This monument acts as a reminder of the force and untold suffering caused by the bomb. It continues to symbolize the fight to rid of the world of nuclear weapons and ultimately bring about world peace.
As a tourist attraction open all year-round, Mount Rushmore is another significant and famous monument in The U.S.A. It is a national memorial featuring 60-foot faces of four great American presidents who represent the birth, growth, development and preservation of the country.
However, there has been some controversy with this monument. Although the message to honor past presidents is important to note, it was discovered that the monument was built on sacred Native American land and sculpted by a man with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial faced such problems even before it was completed 79 years ago on October 31, 1941. Still, the significance behind such a large, unique monument represents the country’s history in a very iconic way.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in West Potomac Park at 1964 Independence Avenue, S.W., referencing the year the Civil Rights Act Of 1964 became law. It exists in memory of Baptist minister and social activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a significant figure in society during the U.S civil rights movement, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African American citizens. His representation, voice and work influenced the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
His memorial is to honor African American individuals who were affected by the lack of civil rights and human rights in America during the 1950s and before then.
King’s memorial is the first to honor an African American individual on the National Mall and its purpose is to simply bring forth his philosophy to this day, striving for freedom, justice and equality.
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a site dedicated to honor and remember the lives lost in the tragic event on December 7, 1941 due to a Japanese attack on the Americans. Pearl Harbor at the time was a U.S naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii. It was the Japanese fighter planes that descended on the base, where they destroyed nearly 20 American naval vessels, including 8 battleships and over 300 airplanes.
There were over 2,400 American victims who passed away due to the attack and another 1,000 injured. This is the attack and final straw that led the U.S.A to enter World War II.
There are more than 1.7 million visitors each year from all over the world. Visitors are free to explore the grounds of the $65 million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, which was expanded from the original 3 to 17 acres, in December of 2011.
The USS Arizona Memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941, when their ship was bombed. People go to learn about the attack, the history and physical see the sites where history took place.
The best way to visit memorials is just that - travel to the location and see them in person. However, sometimes the traveling is not always possible for people. Online visitation tours and videos are now available for many memorial sites and tourist attraction sites. Usually, websites host these virtual events per place and are very accessible, especially with the recent closures due to COVID and how visitations were limited if not cancelled all together.
When it comes to memorials of our loved ones, sometimes distance or other factors impact our ability to 'visit' them or have a way to pay our respects in person. That is where cremation jewelry for ashes, cremation urns for humans and other personal memorial items can play an important role.
Photo engraved jewelry and other personalized memorial gifts allow families to easily share in remembering a loved one that is totally one of a kind and unique. After all, it is about the memory of your loved one, no matter where the memory sits or stays.
Memorizing the dead sets the path for future generations to learn from. The dead tell stories and keep people in check with what has happened so tragic events do not repeat. Memorials like 9/11 or the Hiroshima center educate visitors from all around the world about war and finding peace. Memorials like the Martin Luther King Jr. site continue on visions of the future from notable historical figures.
These famous memorials have come a long way, some facing controversy and others remaining the most popular and loved sites in the world to visit. It is simply most important to know and appreciate the purpose behind remembering the passed victims and figures and paying respects to their lives.
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September 22, 2021 by Frances Kay