When traveling, there is no shortage of photo-worthy moments. It's also quite tempting to take a selfie at certain historical landmarks—a little something to prove you were there. But there are some locations you must never, ever take a "cute" picture at. There are plenty of cool places to get some selfies in. There are other places, however, where it's considered disrespectful, inappropriate, or even forbidden to take a picture of yourself. Check out our list of important historical sites where posing for a picture isn't advised. While some of these locations may seem like common sense, it's never a bad idea to double-check the protocol surrounding selfies while visiting certain historical landmarks.
Anything Holocaust-related is a big no-no. The gates of Auschwitz particularly stand-out as you're standing on the grounds of a concentration camp where literally millions of people died. There are also plenty of memorials and museums around the world that can be a very sobering experience and certainly worth a visit, but are not the place for taking pictures of yourself. Some people who have taken selfies at these sites have even gone viral and received a lot of backlash on social media. Just not worth it!
9 9/11 Memorial
The 9/11 memorial in New York City is both devastatingly heartbreaking and breathtakingly beautiful. The memorial pools—a fountain of sorts with the name of every person lost in the September 11 attacks etched into the bronze structure—is absolutely serene. The Survivor Tree, a tree that has been sectioned off after it miraculously remained standing following the destructive attacks, lives as a reminder of the nation's resilience after the tragedy. While these features could be considered worthy of a picture, putting yourself in the photo is not a good look.
8 Vietnam Memorial
Over 58,000 people lost their lives during the Vietnam War. With so much loss, there is seemingly no empty space on the large wall of names erected in memory of the veteran's who sacrificed their lives. The structure in Washington D.C. is overwhelming, and it's understandable why it's a visit that tourists consider to be one you can't miss. While taking a picture of the thousands of names—especially if you are related to one of those names—isn't generally frowned upon, inserting yourself into the picture can be seen as obnoxious by many people who are there to mourn and remember their loved ones lost to the war.
7 Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the United Arab Emirates is nothing short of extravagant. Still, it's important to keep in mind the importance of the mosque to many people's cultures and do some research on tourist etiquette before visiting. There are certain things you are not permitted to wear, and while tours are available, it's always important to be considerate of those that are there praying. While the architecture is exquisite and certainly needs to be captured in a photo, a security guard will confront you if you are taking a selfie, as it's considered disrespectful. It doesn't matter who you are—many celebrities have come under fire for violating these rules!
6 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima, Japan, was the first city in the world to suffer from an atomic bomb in 1945. Thousands of people were killed, and there is now a park honoring the lives that were lost and advocating for world peace. One notable feature of the park is the A-Bomb Dome, which is what remains standing of a building that was closest to the initial blast. There is also a statue of a child to symbolize the many children who were killed in the attack. These two landmarks see the most selfies, and discourse has continued for years on whether it's appropriate or not. Just to stay safe, we advise refraining from taking pictures of yourself.
5 Rwandan Genocide Memorials
There are multiple memorials for the Rwandan genocide, all harrowing in their own way. The Kigali genocide memorial center contains the bodies of 250,000 victims—some which are in mass graves, some which have their literal skull on display. The Murambi genocide memorial also has full skeletons and bodies on display. The Nyamata genocide memorial still has blood stains left from the people who died there. Needless to say, these areas are not the place for a selfie.
4 Red Light District
Many tourists feel the need to satisfy their curiosity about the infamous Red Light District in Amsterdam. Amsterdam just announced they were banning guided tours, and it's an unspoken rule that pictures are not permitted. Not just of yourself—of anything or anyone. The red lights look super cool, but many tourists have recounted incidents of being reprimanded or even physically removed from the area after they were caught taking photographs. With all the deleterious goings-on in the Red Light District, this should come as no surprise!
3 Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is another example of an iconic place where you should not only refrain from taking selfies, but any pictures in general. The artwork on the ceiling done by Michelangelo in the 1500s is absolutely glorious and truly worth the visit. As many security guards will unpleasantly remind you, however, your camera must be put away—no exceptions. This rule has been in place for decades, as the area is meant for silent contemplation. No worries, though. There is plenty of other gorgeous artwork and architecture in Vatican City that you are free to take snaps of.
This travel destination is already a bit controversial due to questions over safety. Still, many travelers opt to enter the ghost town and take some pretty haunting photos of a city that was hastily abandoned. While you can still take guided tours and buy merchandise like many other typical tourist attractions, there is still an ongoing debate about selfies. The Exclusion Zone, in particular, is a top choice for many selfie-takers. While there are no official rules stating you can't take a picture of yourself, many people still argue it's disrespectful. Whether you agree or not, it's still probably best to avoid if you want to stay out of internet drama.
1 Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia has around 400,000 graves of soldiers, some dating all the way back to the Civil War. Like at many other cemeteries and/or memorials, taking a selfie there isn't typically seen as the classiest move. Taking a photo of the resting place of a deceased relative is more understandable, but if you take just a random photo of yourself? Once again, prepare yourself for some potentially harsh words and shaming on social media. There are some other requirements for visiting this particular cemetery, so make sure to do some research before visiting.