People around the world are snapping photographs at an incredible pace. The world now takes more photographs in two minutes than it did in the entire 19th century, according to a 2012 analysis of global film supplies by a Web site called 1000 Memories.
We turn our lenses on our pets, our lattes and our sandy feet at the beach. And, of course, there are our vacation photos, billions of images of the world's most scenic sites that were snapped from the exact same spot by different people at different points in time.
We were curious what some of the world's most common vacation photos might be. So we turned to Tanel Tammet's SightsMap, which uses data from Panoramio, a geo-location photo-sharing site owned by Google, to map the world's most photographed places. The dark areas have few photos on the site, the red areas have more, and the yellow areas have the most. (As you can see, Panoramio's users appear to be mostly Westerners, and the sites listed here are in Europe or the Americas, rather than in Asia.)
The map also offers street-level heat maps for Panoramio’s most photographed 15,000 places in the world, so you can zoom in and see exactly what people were taking photos of.
The list below counts down the world's 12 most photographed cities, according to panoramio's data, and offers a photo of the most snapped shot. How many of these shots have you taken?
The Old World is the photographic hotspot for panoramio users. Madrid is the 12th most photographed world city, and the most photographed site in Madrid is Plaza Mayor, a wide-open plaza in Madrid with a statue of King Philip III.
Prague is the 11th most photographed city on Tammet's map. The most photographed site in Prague, according to Panoramio, is the astronomical clock, the oldest working clock in the world. The clock dates to 1410 and is decorated with gothic figures.
The most photographed spot in Budapest is St. Stephen's Basilica, which houses the supposed right hand of St. Stephen, Hungary's first Catholic king.
9. Buenos Aires
Jumping to South America, the most photographed site in Buenos Aires, according to Panoramio users, is Caminito, an alley filled with colorful buildings, shops and tangoing street performers.
Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence is known as the spot to capture an incredible panoramic view of Florence, a Renaissance capital of art and architecture.
7. Monte Carlo, Monaco
The most photographed site for Panoramio users in Monte Carlo is the Hotel de Paris, a luxury hotel with the perfect view of Monte Carlo's scenery, flashy cars and casinos that has appeared in two James Bond movies.
The most photographed spot in the very-photographed city of Venice is Ponte dell'Accademia, a bridge that spans the Grand Canal and offers stunning views of the Italian city.
The most photographed spot in Turkey is Kiz Kulesi, or the Maiden's Tower, which stands on a small island in the middle of the Bosphorus strait. The medieval Byzantine structure provides an incredible background for photographing Istanbul.
We were surprised to find that the most photographed spot in Paris for Panoramio users is not the Eiffel Tower — it's actually the neon lights of the Moulin Rouge. This French cabaret gave birth to the can-can and was captured in the 2001 movie of the same name.
The most photographed spot in Barcelona is Park Güell, a park dotted with the colorful and modernist architecture of Antonio Gaudí.
Rome ranks as the second-most photographed city in the world, according to the Google photo service. And the most photographed spot in that city is the Trinità dei Monti, a Roman Catholic church that stands above the Spanish steps and the Piazza di Spagna. These are the same steps where Audrey Hepburn eats gelato in "Roman Holiday" and Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon meet in "The Talented Mr. Ripley."
1. New York
New York ranks as the world’s most photographed city, according to Panoramio data. The most photographed spot is not the Empire State Building or Central Park, but the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum. The iconic building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to be a continuous spiral, with visitors circling around the entire museum on one slightly sloping ramp.
How many of these photos have you taken? What iconic shots of the world have we left out? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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