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The world’s ugliest (but most compelling) tourist attractions

Ben Groundwater
01 January 2016

For every swoon and snap garnered by the Taj Mahal and Niagara Falls, there’s a less attractive tourist site failing to get the recognition it deserves. Ben Groundwater rounds-up eight not-so-pretty places requiring a second look…

Favelas, Rio de Janeiro
These Brazilian slums have become something of a tourist attraction, with guided tours even available for visitors. But let’s face it, they’re still slums. Rio has almost 1,000 favelas – most of which have no legal electricity or running water –clinging haphazardly to the sides of hills. It doesn’t mean they’re not interesting. But it does mean they’re ugly.
British Airways flies to Rio de Janeiro

Las Vegas Strip, Nevada 
Unless you’re Lady Gaga, or a member of LMFAO, you could probably be forgiven for thinking that the Vegas Strip is just a little gaudy and over-the-top. After all, there’s nothing subtle about a fake Egyptian pyramid abutting a replica Eiffel Tower, or a giant cartoon castle within walking distance of the gold-plated Trump Tower. Vegas may be an exhilarating trip for your senses, but it’s not exactly beautiful. More: 
British Airways flies to Las Vegas

Marine Stadium, Miami
Even when they’re in use, many sports stadiums aren’t exactly attractive. However, the abandoned Marine Stadium in Miami takes ugly to a whole new level. This one-time home for Florida’s watersports fans was abandoned after 1992, and is now a crumbling, graffiti-covered shell, sitting forlornly by the waterfront. It’s interesting, without a doubt, given its status as a cultural relic – but it’s seen better days.
British Airways flies to Miami

Federation Square, Melbourne 
Melbourne’s CBD centerpiece continues to divide the city into those who think the jagged, chaotic cluster of art galleries and restaurants is a bold artistic statement, and those who think it’s plain hideous. Regardless of their opinions, however, both camps seem regularly to congregate there to enjoy its attractions.
British Airways flies to Melbourne

Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Given its worldwide notoriety, and the quality of the attractions that surround it, you expect a lot from Tiananmen Square. What you get, however, is a large, plain, concrete space with a mausoleum slapped in the middle of it. It’s still deservedly popular, given its history, but it’s not pretty to look at. 
British Airways flies to Beijing

Peter the Great statue, Moscow
There are some interesting rumours about this huge and hugely ugly monument to the founder of the Russian Navy. Was it really based on a design for a statue intended for the US to commemorate Christopher Columbus’s first journey? While that story is officially denied by the Russians, there’s no denying the facts: this 98-metre-high mess of bronze and steel would look more at home on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean.  
British Airways flies to Moscow

Tour Montparnasse, Paris
There are two great things about climbing 56-storey Montparnasse Tower for a little sightseeing: firstly, from up there you can see pretty much every beautiful and famous building and monument in Paris. Secondly, it’s the only place in the city where you /can’t/ see the outside of the tower itself. Alas, Paris’s second-tallest building is also its most unattractive, hence why the best place to be is at the top of it.
British Airways flies to Paris

Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh
There are still plenty of visitors who come to view the Scots’ bold choice of design for their seat of power – however, whether they want to see it because they love it or because they hate it is up for debate. What is certain is that anyone who’s laid eyes on the building’s scattered layout and light-bulb-element wall flourishes will have a strong opinion either way. 
British Airways flies to Edinburgh