Quick: What do you think of when you think of Venice? What about Cairo? Or Sydney?
Recently, Traveloka, a travel booking site, asked 100 people to draw the first thing that comes to mind when they think of major cities around the world. For some, iconic architectural sites made up more than half the drawings (with Paris, for instance, the Eiffel Tower dominated). For others, like Tokyo, representative drawings were varied, without a definite winner.
So — did Venice make you think of gondolas? It did for survey respondents. They also selected pyramids for Cairo, and the Sydney Opera House for Sydney.
Read on to see what people drew when asked about these and other fabulous cities around the world. Would your drawings be the same?
Eighty-two percent of the drawings of Venice were of its traditional gondolas.
These flat-bottom, narrow rowboats similar to canoes are used in the "floating" city of Venice to maneuver around the lagoon and canals. Guided by a gondolier directing from the hull, gondolas were the main form of transportation in Venice for centuries; today, only a few hundred are left.
Visitors to Venice are often the only people riding in gondolas these days, with locals preferring water taxis, ferries and private motorboats. Charging as much as $100 for a 20-minute ride, travelers often consider a ride with a singing gondolier a bucket list "to do." Others feel it's a tourist trap. It's your call!
The next most-illustrated Venice attraction was the Rialto Bridge. The oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal, this arched bridge has been standing 157 feet since the late 1500s.
Other illustrations showcased masks, as Venice's Carnival has been celebrated since 1162.
Fun facts about Venice:
- Venice is a collection of 118 islands.
- There are 177 canals in Venice.
- There are 417 bridges in Venice and, they say, if you share a kiss on a gondola beneath each bridge, you'll be in love forever.
- The population of Venice continues to drop dramatically, and it is believed only tourists will populate the islands by 2030.
Cairo was recognized by 81 percent of people for its pyramids. (Though technically, the pyramids are located in Giza, just outside of Cairo.)
The pyramid complex is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one still in existence.
The largest of the three pyramids is actually the Pyramid of Khufu, considered to be the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu. Standing 481 feet tall, it's estimated the pyramid was built in 2560 BC.
The remaining 19 percent of illustrations included the Sphinx, which is located near the pyramids; palm trees; camels; and Tahrir Square, which went through political upheaval in 2010.
Fun facts about Cairo:
- Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East, covering 500 square miles.
- The weekend is Friday and Saturday, with Sunday being the start of the week.
- The Nile River flows through Cairo, and there are two islands in the city.
- Giza is the name of Ancient Egypt, so although they are called the Pyramids of Giza, they are in Cairo.
Paris: Eiffel Tower
No surprise here: More than two-thirds of the artists drew the Eiffel Tower when asked to draw the symbol of Paris.
At more than 1,000 feet in height, this wrought-iron tower appears on the banks of the Seine and was created by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World's Fair. Lines wrap around the structure as people wait to make their way to the top for the best city views, while picnics with the tower as the backdrop are common on the nearby Champ de Mars.
The Arc du Triomphe, a symbol of Napoleon's many military victories, and the glass pyramid of the Louvre, the world's largest museum, appeared in illustrations, as well.
More difficult to draw but easy to connect to Paris is its food: 14 percent of the people drew croissants, baguettes, wine, snails and frogs (which are a delicacy in Paris).
Fun facts about Paris:
- In 2015, the Eiffel Tower received 6.91 million visitors — making it the most-visited ticket-required structure in the world.
- As part of the World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower was not intended to be a permanent structure.
- It will take you 1,665 steps to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
- France gifted the United States with the Statue of Liberty, and you can spot three replicas of the statue in Paris, including the Flame of Liberty.
Rio de Janeiro: Christ the Redeemer
More than half of those surveyed drew Christ the Redeemer, the statue that overlooks the city, as the main icon of Rio de Janeiro.
The statue, standing 125 feet high with arms outstretched 92 feet wide, sits atop Alto da Boa Vista at Parque Nacional da Tijuca.
Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the concrete statue was designed by a French Art Deco artist, Paul Landowski. It is today considered one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
Rio's notorious Carnival party as well as its cultural love of soccer were also drawn — soccer fans here are notoriously obsessed! Of course, beaches made an appearance, considering two of Rio's most famous, Copacabana and Ipanema, both appear in song.
Rio de Janeiro Facts
Fun facts about Rio de Janeiro:
- Rio de Janeiro means January River — except the city is not on a river; it is on Guanabara Bay.
- The bay features more than 100 islands.
- Christ the Redeemer was built to celebrate Rio's 100th anniversary.
- Rio's Carnival is the largest in the world — in 2004 it broke a Guinness world record for hosting 400,000 visitors.
Sydney: Sydney Opera House
When asked to draw Australia's most iconic city, 66 percent depicted the architectural marvel that is the Sydney Opera House, also named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
The Opera House is a relatively new addition, opening in 1973 after 15 years of construction. It houses the Opera Australia, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Theatre Company, and receives more than 8 million people each year.
Fun design fact: The Opera House's peaks are meant to represent waves.
In a close second was the Harbour Bridge, which combined with the Opera House is a picture-perfect shot for anyone visiting the land Down Under.
Many drawings also focused on Australia's iconic wildlife — koalas, kangaroos and sharks.
Fun facts about Sydney:
- The Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge, as well as the tallest steel arch in the world — and you can take a tour to climb it when you visit.
- The Harbour Bridge is referred to by locals as "The Coat Hanger," as they say the design resembles one.
- "Finding Nemo's" P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, does not exist.
- The people of Sydney are called Sydneysiders.
London: Big Ben
There's so much to see and do in London, it's no wonder the illustrations of it varied more than with other cities. Still, there was one icon that stood tallest: Big Ben, London's iconic clock, which 33 percent of those surveyed drew.
Technically, it's the bell inside the Clock Tower that is Big Ben, and he still dongs at quarter-past, half-past, quarter-till and on the hour.
Constructed in 1859 (at the time, it was the largest four-faced clock in the word), the tower is connected to Westminster Abbey and stands 315 feet tall. As Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the tower was renamed in her honor as the Elizabeth Tower.
The remaining 57 percent of drawings are much more scattered. The Tower Bridge was a close second to the clock, with illustrations depicting the Queen and her palace, Buckingham, following behind.
Others think of grabbing a pint of beer or taking a ride on the Underground, aka the Tube, which is the name for London's subway system.
Fun facts about London:
- There are more than 170 museums you can visit in London.
- London received 16 million visitors in 2014, making it the most visited city in the world.
- The Tower of London's last execution took place in 1941, of a German soldier during World War II.
- London taxi drivers must pass "The Knowledge," a test to prove they know every single landmark and street in the city. It can take two to four years to memorize.
New York: Statue of Liberty
The land of the free and the home of the brave is represented the world over by the Statue of Liberty. Since 1875, the 450,000-pound green-copper Lady has been holding a light to welcome all who come, including thousands of immigrants traveling by ship.
Although it is an icon of American freedom, when it comes to New York City, only 31 percent of the people named it the most symbolic landmark.
There are so many symbols that we think of when we think of NYC: the Empire State Building (it came in a close second), the World Trade Towers, Central Park and, yes, food.
Pizza, burgers, bagels. When people think of New York, they think of its food! With so many different cultures living on one small island, it makes sense that foods from around the world are iconic in the Big Apple.
New York Facts
Fun facts about New York City:
- As a gift from France, the Statue of Liberty arrived by boat in 350 pieces. Assembly took four months.
- There is a reason people think of pizza when they think of NYC; the first pizzeria in the U.S. opened in the city in 1895.
- New York City was originally the first capital of the United States, in 1789.
- The "Big Apple" moniker actually comes from a term used to describe a big prize won at horse races, and was originally used to describe New York by a 1920s horse-racing column.
Berlin: Berlin Wall
It's been nearly 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, and yet 26 percent of people think of the wall when they think of Berlin. A portion of the wall remains as a colorful art gallery, but many drawings featured the wall as it was, with graffiti, or as it was being torn down.
The wall was constructed in 1961 to separate East Germany from West Germany during the Cold War. As the Cold War and Communism began to end, the wall was opened in 1989, then demolished in 1991.
Besides the Berlin Wall, beer was a popular image associated with the city (16 percent), as well as the TV Tower (15 percent) and the Brandenburg Gate (12 percent). The latter was constructed in the 1700s by King Frederick William II as a military monument for peace.
Fun facts about Berlin:
- The city has nearly 1,700 bridges — even more than Venice.
- The TV Tower, or Fershehturm, is the tallest structure in all of Germany. It stands 1,207 feet tall.
- The Berlin Zoo is said to be the largest zoo in the world and houses more than 18,000 animals.
- The longest beer garden is in Berlin (not Munich) — over 1 mile in length! No wonder people drew beer for Berlin.
Dubai is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, known for creating its own islands in the shape of palm trees and for building the tallest and most unusual buildings on earth. In art, it was depicted as such.
The towering 2,716-foot tall Burj Khalifa and the hotel-shaped-like-a-sail Burj Al Arab Jumeirah together made up 48 percent of the illustrations of Dubai. Palm Island, which are actually three different artificial islands that make up the palm tree shape from an aerial view, was also depicted.
Dubai is one of the richest cities in one of the richest countries — the United Arab Emirates — and shopping bags, dollar signs and other symbols of wealth were illustrated, as well.
Fun facts about Dubai:
- There are more than 400 skyscrapers in Dubai.
- Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest building in the world but it has the world's highest observatory deck, mosque, restaurant and nightclub — it's 163 stories tall!
- The Burj Al Arab hotel is the only hotel in the world designated a 7-star hotel.
- Don't try to outrun the police: Dubai police drive Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins.
Tokyo produced the most varied results of any city.
Food, mostly sushi and noodles, was depicted most, but only accounted for 22 percent of the drawings.
Sushi originated in Japan thousands of years ago, but it didn't make its first appearance in the English language until the Oxford English Dictionary included it in 1893. Today, sushi is popular around the globe, but Japan does it best.
Hello Kitty drawings made the list as well. She's a pop-culture icon in Japan, considered to be a kawaii mascot (meaning cute), and Hello Kitty products are manufactured by a Japanese company.
Other notable symbols are Shibuya crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the world, and Tokyo's renowned neon billboards.
Fun facts about Tokyo:
- Food is important in Japan; Tokyo has more than a dozen 3-star Michelin restaurants, more than any other city in the world.
- The "cute" Hello Kitty mascot can be found in the Harajuku district, home to extreme and alternative teen fashion, style and culture.
- Japan gifted Washington, D.C. its cherry blossom trees, and in Tokyo, the tree-flowering season is known as Hanami.
- The subway gets so crowded there are literally "pushers" (Oshiya) to push people onto trains during busy periods. They keep the trains moving and people safe.