Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Small World

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Landmarks have been aiding explorers in finding their way around for many years, with many being considered places of interest for the humble tourist. Whether natural or manufactured, there are plenty of famous and awe inspiring sights to see around the world.

Natural sites such as the Grand Canyon and the famous Mount Everest have been around throughout the ages, but what about man’s attempts at making iconic marks, sites such as the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids of Giza and the Taj Mahal? These haven’t been around that long if you compare them to places such as nature’s Son Doong cave; however they are able to attract the same respect and admiration.

Man-made landmarks are truly impressive, and are thought so highly of, that there are a few sites around the globe that have built miniature versions in gratification. Whether you’re just passing through, or have looked for hotels nearby, then these exhibits are worth featuring on your holiday to do list:

Mini Europe

A visit to Brussels, Belgium, will leave you with memories of the native country, especially if you were to stop by at Mini Europe. This Belgian gem offers the truly unique experience of a tour around Europe’s most beloved monuments in only a few hours. At the base of Brussels’ astonishing Atomium, Mini Europa as known by the Belgians attracts over 300,000 visitors each year.

Every one of the 300 monuments featured are made on a 1:25 scale, with Big Ben’s model scaling four metres high and the Eiffel tower’s ‘mini’ replica towering to an impressive fourteen metres.

Every piece has been designed and made with intricate detail; the model of Italy’s most recognised building, the Tower of Pisa (top photo), has been made with marble to make its appearance as genuine as possible, while Big Ben retains its chimes.

Mini Europe will make you feel as though you were a giant roaming Europe’s best monuments. Particularly noteworthy is that the majority of pieces in the display have been funded by their featuring countries.

There are package deals available for those wishing to visit the Océade or the Atomium as well as exploring Europe's finest sights and buildings in Mini Europe.

Epcot’s World Showcase

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the most visited resort on the globe, as well as being the largest. Epcot theme park is one of four theme parks within the resort, stretching over an outstanding 300 acres, Epcot comprises of the World Showcase and Future World.

The Epcot World Showcase is a collection of eleven pavilions; each pavilion features the culture of a specific country and hosts attractions, food courts and shops characteristic of that country. A visitor is able to explore a selection of world cultures all within the space of a few hours covering nations as broad as Canada, China, France (pictured), Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States.

Each pavilion is within easy walking distance of each other, and during your venture between them, you can enjoy live performances and displays from dancers, comedians and a spectacular firework display just before the park closes for the night. Of course, being in Disney World, there are plenty of characters walking around to greet children and adults alike.

Every pavilion within Epcot’s World Showcase has its own entertainment to suit its homeland culture, and the pavilions themselves keep with the theme of their respectable places. The French pavilion has its own Eiffel Tower, while a visit to mini China will greet you with ancient Chinese architecture and tranquil temples.


In the resort city of Carlsbad, California, you’ll find their very own Legoland. First opened in March of 1999, Carlsbad’s Legoland has come a long way in regards to entertainment and advancement. A sea life aquarium opened its doors within the park back in 2008, and was the first to in North America. They have also recently opened their own water park, a Legoland first.

The park has an array of different areas, including Miniland USA. Miniland USA showcases seven areas of the United States with the use of over 40 million Lego bricks. Each area replicates to a 1:20 scale its corresponding cities, and a model of the Empire State building can even be found in the New York area. Miniland USA took around three years to complete, and has accomplished what all Lego lovers wanted to do while they were younger, by creating a mini world in which to play.

Mini Siam

Mini Siam is an amazing display of Thailand’s most famed buildings. If you missed the real experience of the country’s temples, then Mini Siam is the perfect place to check out what you may have missed. You can also visit Thailand’s answer to Mini Europe with the addition of a few extra buildings from around the globe, such as the Sydney Opera House and the Statue of Liberty.

Mini Siam offers a 1:25 scale model of sites such as the Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn), the Anantasmakom Hall (The marble throne hall) and Bangkok’s Victory Monument. A great time to experience the park is near the end of the day, when the sun has started to set, as not only do you get to enjoy the sun setting over Thailand’s backdrop, but this is when all the exhibits lights come on to make your visit even more spectacular.

Photo Credits: Mini Europe Pisa, Mini Europe General, Epcot, Legoland, Mini Siam

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Barbara Weibel said...

These small world sites are really a bit weird and kitschy. I recently passed through Senzen, China and stopped long enough to go to Window of the World, a tour through the world's greatest sites in miniature. The whole place is seedy and somewhat in disrepair, and in this case, I had to wonder if it wasn't built to appease Chinese who for so long were prohibited from traveling outside their country, and now that they have more freedom, it's no longer of interest.

Cafe Bruges said...

Small world is good concept. It may not fulfill one's expectations sometimes, but, still, it is a nice idea to attract tourists..

Brussels Film Festival said...

I am from Brussels, Belgium, and I can assure you that Mini Europa and the Atomium are some of the best tourist attractions in town. Other good places to visit in Brussels are La Grande Place and the restaurant-filled streets around it, Sainte-Catherine, Cook and Book, Sablon, the museums of the Cinquantenaire, etc.

Heather Dugan (Footsteps) said...

I generally gravitate to the more natural landmarks but did enjoy visiting Epcot many years ago. The "small world" sites might whet the appetite of some to go and experience the real thing.

Mark H said...

@barbara: I've been to a couple and don't find them all that exciting. Some of the modelling work (huge buildings made purely of Lego) is striking but it doesn't give much feel for the buildings in question.

@cafe bruges: The parks seem to attract huge crowds.

@brussels film festival: I love Brussels. Thank you or your recommendations and good luck with your film festival.

@heather: I quite enjoyed Epcot. It is as close as I've been to a Disney park.

Sherry Ott said...

I missed mini Europe while in Brussels this summer...I decided I'd rather eat waffles!

Mark H said...

@sherry: Waffles sounds good to me....

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