You know the drill by know: you go on vacation, stop off at all the usual tourist hotspots and take hundreds of photos. Your phone album is full of shots of the Eiffel Tower, NYC skyline views and scenic mountain views. But what about ‘no photos’ allowed tourist attractions?
There are some iconic attractions that have banned photography in full, from religious reasons to preservation. Here’s seven places you’ll just have to look back at from your memory…
No Photos Allowed at These Famous Tourist Attractions
1. Sistine Chapel – Rome, Italy
Michelangelo’s biblical frescos attract more than 4 million visitors a year to Vatican City, but you can’t take any photos or videos. Surprisingly, it’s not to do with any damage concerns from flash photography. A Japanese TV network paid for the restoration of the artwork in the 1980s (which took 20 years!), and received exclusive rights to all photography of the artwork in return.
2. Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – Pyongyang, North Korea
Surprise, surprise, no photos of this mausoleum in North Korea. This mausoleum is where the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state. Foreign visitors can access the palace only on an official government tour. You must wear formal dress, and when entering, you will go through special machines that clean your shoes and blow dust off your body.
Photography, videotaping and talking are not permitted anywhere inside the palace.
You can take photos of a lot of places in this National Park. It’s a sacred area that has a huge significance to its traditional Aboriginal owners, known as Anangu. But, there are also lots of specific sites that should not be filmed, photographed or painted, and locations from which images should not be captured.
For example, images of Kata Tjuta must include three complete domes, never focusing on single domes. This is to make sure you do not focus on sacred detail.
4. Valley of the Kings – Cairo, Egypt
One of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, this ancient valley on the west bank of the Nile is a must-visit. Just don’t bother bringing your camera to snap pics of Tutankhamun. Photography is strictly forbidden across each of tombs, although you can use a torch to help see better.
5. Golden Gai – Tokyo, Japan
Golden Gai is an area in the Shinjuku district that is filled with hole-in-the-wall dive bars (Albatross) and restaurants. Some of these old-fashioned bars that fill the narrow alleyways in the quaint Golden Gai area have ‘no photos’ and ‘no tourists’ signs outside, but there’s more than 200 bars so you should find somewhere to sit down. The no photos however, is pretty much mandatory for the entire alley.
6. Geishas of Kyoto – Kyoto, Japan
While they’re known as geishas in Tokyo, in Kyoto the correct term is ‘geiko’, which means ‘women of art’. Authorities in Kyoto banned tourists from taking photographs in its most popular geisha districts, after reports that they were bothering geishas on their way to work.
7. Las Vegas Casinos – Las Vegas, USA
The no photography rules in Vegas casinos goes back to Sin City’s days of being a popular anonymous escape for many an American. Some casinos have relaxed their rules slightly, and allow selfies to be taken in some areas, but videos are banned, as is most photography on the gaming floor itself.