SOME of the most popular tourists attractions around the world welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon are just some of the busiest tourist sites in the world.
However, a number of iconic and well known tourist attractions are not real at all – they’re either recreated for visitors or are based on fictional places that never existed in history.
Earlier this week for example, it was revealed that a famous Moroccan attraction where goats climbed trees to eat berries was in fact faked by locals.
But it’s far from the only one.
So from Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin to Sleepy Hollow in New York, here are a few places that are less than authentic.
Juliet’s Balcony, Verona
A must-visit place in Italy’s Verona is the balcony of Juliet Capulet, as featured in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
However, the balcony is actually fake – Shakespeare never even visited Italy.
The only link to the play is that the home was once owned by the Cappello family, who could have been the inspiration for the Capulets in the play.
While many love-struck visitors once gratified the walls, this has since been banned – although people can still write and leave notes and letters.
Stilt fishermen, Sri Lanka
For those looking for somewhere off the beaten path, Sri Lanka’s stilt fishermen has long been a dream.
It’s easy to find photos of the fishermen sitting on a stilt while trying to catch fish.
This was once a real practice, which is thought to have originated after World War II.
However, after the 2004 tsunami, many of the fisherman moved to different locations of the country and those who remain are mainly there for the tourist dollars.
Bridge over the River Kwai, Thailand
Mae Klong River was renamed Kwai Yai in the 1960s[/caption]
The 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai featured the Burma Railway, also known as “Death Railway”.
However, the railway never crossed the River Kwai in real life, and actually crossed the Mae Klong River, which is adjacent.
As tourists began to flock to it, the section of the Mae Klong River was renamed Kwai Yai in the 1960s.
Popeye Village, Malta
The 1980 musical Popeye, featuring Robin Williams, was filmed in Malta on a fake set.
However, the film set was never taken down.
Now known as Popeye Village, visitors can actually explore the multi-coloured buildings that appeared in the film, even though it didn’t exist before the film.
Checkpoint Charlie, Germany
Checkpoint Charlie did exist during the Cold War[/caption]
Checkpoint Charlie is a real location in history – it marked the divide that separated east and west Berlin during the Cold War in 1961.
However, the real checkpoint was removed in 1990.
The hut and the sandbags that stand at the location now are reconstructed, while the real metal structure can be found in the Allied Museum in Dahlem.
221B Baker Street, London
The tales of Sherlock Holmes are obviously fictional, although it hasn’t stopped tourists heading to his famous home in London.
There is a building in Marylebone that says “221B Baker Street, Sherlock Homes, Consulting Detective”.
However, the building is actually 239 Baker Street.
Also, the building numbers on the street didn’t go past the 100s when Sherlock Holmes was written.
Bran Castle, Romania
Many flock to see Bran Castle, believing it to be the inspiration behind the Bram Stoker novel, Dracula.
Sadly, the author himself never went to the castle or even to Romania so it’s unlikely to have been the inspiration for the setting of the story.
Shangri-La became popular with tourists following the success of James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon, and a film in 1937.
The town of Shangri-La was said to be found in Tibet.
However, it was entirely fictitious and James never visited Tibet.
You can find a Shangri-La in China, but it was created in 2001, and was originally named Zhongdian.
A popular tourist attraction in Athens is the Parthenon, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena.
While the original version was built in 438 BC, it was destroyed by a Venetian bomb in 1687.
What stands now is mainly a reconstruction of the original structure.
However, some of the original columns can still be found in the British Museum.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
The village of Sleepy Hollow is a favourite for fans of both the 1999 film staring Johnny Depp, and the TV series in 2013.
However, the town was actually renamed from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow in 1996, to capitalise on the 1820 Gothic novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Despite being home to just 10,000 people, it is estimated that the same number of visitors travel through it every year.
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Sun Online Travel previously revealed how a photographer travelled around the world taking pictures of the fake towns and buildings where no-one lives.
They include Mosul recreations in the Mojave Desert, California, a New York-style town in Sweden that is used to test cars and an English village in China
And in Mexico, there are bizarre “illegal border crossing” experiences where visitors can see what it’s like to illegally enter America.