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"Give us McNeal or we will lay waste to your cities with our anti-monument laser."
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So you're a marauding monster, invading alien force, overblown natural disaster, fanatical terrorist, or anything that has a tendency to cause massive collateral damage. But you are not going to destroy any random building, are you? No, where is the fun in that? You're going to behead the Statue of Liberty, or blow up the White House, or anything recognizable enough that by destroying it, you can show the world that you mean business.

If you plan on attacking all over the world make sure you target a wide range of easily identifiable landmarks throughout. Due to Small Reference Pools, no one will take you seriously unless you get the Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House, the Westminster Clock Tower ("Big Ben", that is), or in works made before 9/11, the World Trade Center. Just killing people throughout the world won't cut it.

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A weird exception is that it's very, very rare for any monument-destroying force to harm the Lincoln Memorial. It's not unknown, but the Great Emancipator's statue takes significantly less damage than you might expect.

On the flip side, Japan's Tokyo Tower gets this so often its joked by fans as 'Just another bad day for Tokyo Tower.'

Occasionally inverted when an occupying power takes control of a landmark of some kind, forcing the defenders to destroy said landmark.

A consequence of the Eiffel Tower Effect. Frequently seen in disaster movies. When characters deliberately aim for monuments for symbolic value, this overlaps with Smash the Symbol. Sometimes inverted: The monument —although battered— is the only thing left standing in the city After the End.

Compare Big Applesauce, Monumental Battle, Rushmore Refacement, The Tokyo Fireball, Tilting Tower of Pisa, and Washington D.C. Invasion. Tokyo Tower gets messed up so much it's also its own trope. This trope could be Justified if Landmarking the Hidden Base is being utilized and the bad guy finds out. See also Weaponized Landmark when the monument shoots back.

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Not to be confused with Monumental Theft.


Example subpages

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Averted in Digimon Adventure, when the very climactic battle against Myotismon takes place on top of Fuji TV Headquarters (known for its unique design by the architect Kenzo Tange) but neither the building nor its massive metal ball is (seriously) harmed. Incidentally or not, Fuji TV is the channel that broadcasts Digimon in Japan.
  • The very first missile shot by the Millennium assault force in Hellsing as they invade London soars through the sky... and blows up the Parliament Clock Tower.
    • The Major orders the Millennium soldiers to destroy all the other landmarks, too.
    • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged the Major also orders this, but explicitly forbids destroying the Holocaust Museum as there will be no denying what they did.
      • Hans burnt down London Bridge while singing "London Bridge is Falling Down".
  • In a flashback to the depression era New York in Shakugan no Shana, both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building get blown up by Margery Daw. However, no one noticed and they were evidently repaired.
  • The Read or Die OVA has Gennai Hiraga blowing up the White House, with a so-not-George Bush lookalike being dragged out just in time.
  • In Macross II, the main characters go for a date in a place called "monument park," a collection of world monuments almost identical to the Futurama example, below. It is promptly attacked by aliens.
  • From Cannon God Exaxxion:
    Humanity's gotta take one to the gut, here! Knock some sense into the damn peaceniks! And showing them ol' Mount Fuji going boom ought to do the trick!
  • In the Mazinger series:
    • In the Mazinger Z vs Great General of Darkness feature film, the Mykene army struck Paris, London, New York, Moscow and Tokyo. During their attacks, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Empire State Building, and the Tokyo Tower got wrecked.
    • In the Mazinkaiser movie, the first shot features Paris and the Eiffel Tower burning. The next scenes depict the main characters trying to fight the Mykene War Beasts in different locations. During the attack on New York, the Statue of Liberty is shown as having been decapitated. Just to add insult to injury, Great Mazinger is knocked through the remains of the statue and falls on the head. Elsewhere, the Great Pyramids, Sydney Opera House, and Great Wall are also damaged by Super Robot / Robeast combat. Mount Fuji also takes damage from the final battle between Mazinkaiser and Ankoku Daishogun, first as collateral damage from Mazinkaiser's Rust Tornado, and again when Daishogun rams Mazinkaiser with his Airborne Aircraft Carrier. During the end credits of the movie, the heroes can be seen fixing it afterwards.
    • In the first appearance of Great General of Darkness in Shin Mazinger Zero, he split the Mount Fuji into two halves with a single stroke.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, when the falling Junius Seven is destroyed by the Minerva's Wave-Motion Gun, fragments of it scatter randomly around the world. One of them still manages a direct hit on the Parthenon in Greece.
  • Future War 198X: The White House, The Statue of Liberty, Tokyo Tower, and the Eiffel Tower all are destroyed in a chain of nuclear blasts killing 13 million people planned by Dirty Communists.
  • Space Carrier Blue Noah: The Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower are flooded by tsunamis.
  • Fuji gets hit by a giant, fist-shaped asteroid holding the dMp at the start of Ultimate Muscle.
  • In-universe example: Boruto: Naruto Next Generation begins by showing The Hokage Mountain, the most easily recognizable landmark of Konoha Village, completely smashed alongside with the rest of the village.
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou: In this Cosy Catastrophe, the top of Mount Fuji is no longer symmetrical. Like much else in the series, this goes unexplained.
  • I Am a Hero subverts this. Buildings are usually left standing possibly because the Infected are an attempt to wipe out humanity but not its infrastructure. La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and Sunshine 60 in Tokyo aren't destroyed, but are transformed by Hives into a part of their structure.
  • X1999: Most of the landmarks in Tokyo are considered to be barriers that protect the city and the world. It's up to the Dragons of Heaven to protect them from the Dragons of Earth. To do that every Dragon of Heaven (except Kamui) creates a spirit barrier to keep civilians out of harm's way once they engage in battle against a Dragon of Earth. If a Dragon of Heaven dies in combat, the spirit barrier along with the landmark gets destroyed. The movie shows how damaging the battles are such as the destruction of the Sunshine 60 building, the National Diet Building, and Tokyo Tower which is where the Final Battle between Fuuma and Kamui takes place.
  • Lycoris Recoil: The Tokyo Skytree ended up being destroyed in in a past incident (for which the protagonist Chisato is apparently responsible), and its partially standing wreckage still remains as a monument to peace.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • In general, superhero comics and other superhero-related media will often show their own fictional, yet still iconic, monuments being damaged instead of real ones. The Daily Planet, Wayne Tower, and Stark Tower are frequent victims, with the Daily Planet in particular having its giant globe knocked off practically every week.
  • In The Ultimates - some super-powered soldiers push over the Statue of Liberty. Later, some superheroes pull it back up again. Averted in the same story where Ultimate Cap and The Colonel duke it out along The Wall (the Vietnam War Memorial) and it is not damaged.
  • In the Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! the giant monster frog villain Frogzilla pulls up from its foundation the Statue of Ribbity (Earth-C's Statue of Liberty) and takes it with him into Gnu York (Earth-C's New York), thinking the statue was a real person (and trying to hit "her" up for a date).
  • Rare exception to the "Nothing harms Lincoln" rule: During the Amazons Attack! miniseries, Hippolyta decapitates the memorial. Possibly referenced in the 2009 Wonder Woman animated movie, where an angry Steve Trevor rushes to the defence of the memorial declaring "no-one messes with Lincoln!"
  • In Asterix and Cleopatra, Obelix climbs The Sphinx and breaks its nose.
  • The Statue of Liberty really suffers during the Sinestro Corps War. First, Cyborg-Superman punches Superman through part of it. Then the Sinestros decide to just tear the whole thing down and replace it with a statue of Sinestro. Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner fix her back up during the epilogue.
  • In Ultimate X-Men, where do the newly-formed Brotherhood of Mutants strike first? Why, London's Big Ben of course!
  • Squadron Supreme has Hyperion and his evil doppelganger from another universe fighting it out at Mount Rushmore (named President's Mountain in this reality), destroying it. It's later mentioned that it's being rebuilt.
  • DC Comics Steel and Non-Green-Lantern-Guy-Gardner-But-Rather-Warrior fought Sledge (DC villain that is somewhat Juggernaut-lite) and couldn't put him down until the Washington Monument fell on his head.
  • Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth]]: The first issue's cover prominently shows a fractured Statue of Liberty listing in floodwaters.
  • During the Inferno (1988), the villains take over the Empire State building and turn it into their demonic Evil Tower of Ominousness.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers (Marvel): Downplayed in issue #23. The Battlechargers Runabout and Runamuck are revealed to be plotting something against various United States landmarks, such as Mount Rushmore, Independence Hall, the Washington Monument, and especially the Statue of Liberty. What is their nefarious plan? To...vandalize them by spray-painting "humans are wimps!" on everything. The Battlechargers are a couple of numbskulls after all.
    • The Transformers (IDW): Regeneration One: The first visual of Earth's surface, 21 years after the end of the Marvel series, is of a destroyed Golden Gate Bridge lying on the bed of the vaporized strait. Several other cities are shown as destroyed as well, including Washington, D.C., where the Capitol Dome is visible among the ruins, and where Megatron once again has a throne, though this time it's not the chair from the Lincoln Memorial (instead being cobbled together from various buildings and structures).
  • X-Force: The Juggernaut destroys the Twin Towers in the "Sabotage" storyline; oddly enough, they return within only a few issues, and the story is rarely spoken of today.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • In America, pro-democracy terrorists attempt to blow up the already degraded Statue of Liberty as a symbol of protest against the oppressive rule of the Judges.
    • During Day of Chaos, the Statue of Justice is destroyed in a missile attack. Done for both symbolic and practical reasons; as the building also functioned as a surveillance center, it crippled the eyes and ears of Justice Department.
  • Godzilla in Hell features an apocalyptic battle between Godzilla and Space Godzilla in Rio de Janeiro where "Christ the Redeemer" is one of the last things standing before it too ends up demolished and the Earth is blown up.
  • In the Green Arrow (Rebirth) storyline "Rise of Star City", the villains, discussing their plan to remould Seattle in their image, explain how every city has a heart, and if you cut that out you demoralise the populace. Cut to the Space Needle collapsing.
  • Irredeemable. Qubit forces the supervillain Plutonian to help him clean up the radiation that's been dispersed across the Earth by having Plutonian create giant spears of radiation-absorbing metal and drop them in various places. Plutonian agrees not to drop them on Innocent Bystanders, but drops one on The Sphinx just to piss Qubit off.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Issue 32 seems to open with the Empire State Building being blown up by the alien invader Uvo, but the next page reveals it was a scale model built to test out invasion plans.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Decay destroys the foundation of the Boston Massacre Monument and when Diana prevents the monument from landing on tourists Decay reduces the whole thing to dust. The comic's monument is a bit different from the real one, putting the Spirit of the Revolution at the top of the tapering column.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): The Washington Monument is destroyed in one of the tie in issues for Amazons Attack!.
  • Superman:
    • In one storyline, the Eradicator, in his "Krypton Man" persona, alters the Lincoln Memorial so that Honest Abe is instead standing and wearing Kryptonian robes.
    • Two for the Death of One: The nose of the Great Sphinx of Giza gets crushed into dirt during the final battle between Superman and Lord Satanis (time travel was involved).
    • In Strangers at the Heart's Core, Klax-Ar wants to begin his planet-wide destructive rampage by blowing the Statue of Liberty up, but his weaponized flying sled malfunctions before he can do so.
    • At the start of Superman vs. Shazam!, the Brooklyn Bridge gets shattered, and Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel must stop it from crumbling down. Later, Karmang's visions include a tsunami sweeping over the Big Ben and a lightning storm battering Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
    • In The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, Supergirl and Blackrock almost completely destroy the Washington Square Arch while fighting.
    • In The Hunt for Reactron, Flamebird puts a dent in the Eiffel Tower when she smashes Supergirl into it.
  • Recurring in Über
    • During the retreat from Paris, the Allies are forced to destroy many landmarks to keep the Nazis from using them as vantage points; the Eiffel Tower is shown exploding.
    • During the invasion of London, Sieglinde decapitates Nelson's Column and places Churchhill's head on top.
    • The cover of the first issue of Invasion shows the Statue of Liberty with its face partially melted off. In the comic proper, Siegfried begins the invasion by reshaping the White House into an enormous swastika.
    • A later issue of Invasion shows the Statue of Liberty's head reshaped into a swastika as well.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): There are a couple examples which are slightly tamer than usual disaster movie standards considering the Monuments' obscurity in Real Life. There's the underwater damage done to the Yonaguni Monument by Godzilla's battle against the Many in Chapter 13, and there's the steeple of the Khram Vo Imya church in Berezniki being used as a weapon by Monster X to impale MaNi/Elder Brother, as well as implicitly getting leveled with the rest of the city, in Chapter 17.
  • Code Prime:
    • At the beginning of R2 — Revolution, the Autobots and Black Knights blow up Mt. Fuji to deny the Decepticons access to its massive Energon deposits. Notably, the Japanese Black Knights do so despite how sacred Mt. Fuji is to them, as it's been defiled beyond recognition by the 'Cons.
    • The fourth Iacon Relic is buried under the Great Wall of China, which leads to chunks of the wall being destroyed during the resulting fight between the Combaticons and Theta Team (the Aerialbots and the Black Dragon Unit).
  • Glass Marionette (Naruto): When Shimura Danzo is taken down, they take a chunk of Hokage Rock with them, destroying a sizable chunk of the Sandaime's face on the monument.
  • Godzilla: New Era: Several landmarks in Kyoto are destroyed over the course of the final battle. Kyoto Tower is broken and used as a make-shift spear by Godzilla to pin down and heavily damage the Millennian UFO after being stabbed through a break in its hull. Flashbacks to the 1984 attack prominently show the Sunshine 60 Tower as the skyscraper that was collapsed ontop of and crushed the Super-X.
  • An attacker in Heroes of the Desk: Repercussions does a threefer by smashing up the London Bridge, Big Ben, and the Eiffel Tower.
  • In a flashback from Just an Unorthodox Thief, Goemon cuts down the Golden Gate Bridge so that Lupin can escape Kiritsugu and Zenigata alike after the former attempts to assassinate one of Lupin's clients and he elects to stop the Magus Killer, as it would be "bad for business."
  • In The Moment It Began, Voldemort and the Death Eaters destroy the Palace of Westminster.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet has an offhand mention that the Optimum (from Star Trek: Federation) dropped an asteroid on Mecca in 2060. The author's note explains this as their way of cowing the Islamic countries, which violently resisted their global takeover attempt, into submission.
  • The Tranformers World's Worst fanfics have turned the destruction of the Lincoln Memorial into a Running Gag. Two words: Abebird Files.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Sphinx's nose is destroyed in the animated film Aladdin as well as Asterix and Cleopatra.
  • In Asterix vs. Caesar, Obelix causes the partial destruction of the Colosseum by accidentally backing into a support pillar. This is despite the fact that construction of the Colosseum didn't start until 120 years after the time period those stories take place in.
  • Played for laughs in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as giant food items start falling on various national monuments in an ironic fashion - a sandwich skewered on the Eiffel Tower, fortune cookies on the Great Wall that predict what will hit it next, pies hitting Mount Rushmore, and so on. The newscaster even lampshades it by explicitly saying that the food storm is hitting monuments first. Naturally, only Lincoln's gets hit in the back of the head.
  • Downplayed in Despicable Me 3, not only does the 'Hollywood' Sign only get partially destroyed (and not Roland Emmerich like) by Bratt's robot, the Capitol Records Building (named the World Records Building), while it does collapse, we only get to briefly see the top part of it fall onto the ground. As for the rest of Hollywood? It's sadly offscreen.
  • The title character of Hercules also breaks the Venus de Milo's arms while skipping stones. Megera claims it looks better that way.note 
  • The Prince of Egypt: During their chariot race at the start of the film, Ramses and Moses drive into a construction area at one of the main temple complexes in Memphis, causing some damage (including inadvertently breaking off the nose of a colossus of Ramses' father, Seti, though it might have been intended as The Sphinx).
  • Played with in Home (2015). We see several Earth monuments, but many aren't really damaged, just floating in air. The ones with faces have been modified to look like Captain Smek. In the end, the Boov fix it.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge comes tumbling down in Monsters vs. Aliens.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry: The title characters are given jet planes so they can race around the world "in 5 minutes". The monuments destroyed (and how) in order of appearance, are:
    • The island of Borneo (set on fire)
    • Taj Mahal (largest onion dome turns upside down, spins like a top, and bumps into the other parts of the building)
    • Mt. Everest (jets rammed through. Reduced to rubble except for the peak, which falls to the ground)
    • Great Wall of China (jets rammed through, reduced to rubble)
    • St. Basil's Cathedral (treated like a pinball machine until it collapses)
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa (straightened, received with applause. No damage occurs)
    • Coliseum (jets rammed through, reduced to rubble)
    • A castle (transformed into a trailer park)
    • Eiffel Tower (uprooted, bent into a pretzel shape)
    • Big Ben (one clock face ripped off, revealing a cuckoo bird)
    • Stonehenge (reduced to rubble without the jets touching it)
    • Loch Ness (water removed, revealing the famous monster)
    • Statue of Liberty (cloak removed, revealing a bikini. She promptly changes her pose)
    • Grand Canyon (both sides make contact, shutting the canyon, now just flat desert)
    • Hollywood Walk of Fame (the stars are blown off the sidewalk)
  • In Turning Red, the SkyDome is partially destroyed during Ming's rampage as a red panda. Following the Time Skip, the stadium is undergoing repairs and the revenue coming in from visitors to the temple is paying for the damage.
  • War of the Worlds: Goliath. Everyone's cheering over having defeated the Martian forces attacking New York City, when a giant Martian flying wing rises from the harbour and knocks the Statue of Liberty off its pedestal. Incidentally Lady Liberty is holding a sword rather than a torch, as it's a war memorial for the previous Martian invasion.
  • In Wonder Woman (2009), the Memorials, the Capitol, and the White House. While there was a battle in front of The Vietnam War Memorial, it was spared.

    Literature 

By Author:

  • One might get the impression that H. G. Wells didn't like the St. Paul's Cathedral in London very much...
    • In The War of the Worlds, it ends up with what the narrator describes as "a huge gaping cavity on its western side".
    • In The Shape of Things to Come, the cathedral even ends up completely destroyed, along with a great chunk of London's inner city at the northern shore of the Thames.

By Work:

  • 1632 series:
    • During the climax of 1632, the Wartburg castle gets napalmed. Comments are made to the effect of "I bet that back in the future, that was a historic monument".
    • In 1634: The Baltic War, as part of the distractions during their escape from London, Harry Lefferts blows up the Tower of London, partially collapses the London Bridge and sets fire to the Globe Theatre. Even funnier, his history teacher, Melissa "Schoolmarm from Hell" Mailey, is present and goes utterly berserk.
    • The climax of 1635: The Cannon Law blows up a large part of the Castel Sant'Angelo to permit an escape.
  • James Lovegrove's The Age of Zeus features a whole series of these to punish the protagonists for their acts of insurrection. Zeus himself destroys the Sydney Opera House with a series of lightning bolts, Poseidon sweeps away the Golden Gate Bridge with a tidal wave, Hades (who has a death touch) and Dionysus (who can induce madness) team up to massacre the crowd in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Ares and Heracles smash the faces on Mt. Rushmore, and Hephaestus crumples the Eiffel Tower into a ball.
  • The second novel in The Bartimaeus Trilogy features a hilarious fight scene inside the British Museum where Bartimaeus, not knowing its significance, uses the Rosetta Stone as a projectile weapon. Hilarity Ensues. In the third novel, Nelson's Column gets sliced in half by Nathaniel trying out the Staff.
  • Vixen 03, Clive Cussler's fifth Dirk Pitt book, features a rare attack on the Lincoln Memorial. The roof collapses and the columns are knocked down but the statue remains upright (five books later, Cussler had already forgotten about that). The Evil Plan involves terrorists (actually a False Flag Operation) using a decommissioned battleship to shell Washington D.C. It becomes a Discussed Trope during the attack when it's pointed out that a car bomb that killed a few innocents would quickly be forgotten, but a warship raining down fire on the nation's capital causing Monumental Damage would long be remembered.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • Doctor Who New Adventures novels:
      • Canterbury Cathedral is destroyed in Warlock.
      • In No Future, terrorists (in an alternate timeline) bomb Big Ben.
    • The novelization of "Rose" has the London Eye collapse when the Nestene Consciousness' lair beneath it is destroyed. (Only the novelization, mind.)
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Changes: Harry and his friends wreck part of Chichén Itzá when facing off against the Red Court vampires. Not surprising as this is Harry Dresden we're discussing.
    • Pretty much any major Chicago landmark is liable to suffer collateral property damage when Harry's around, sooner or later.
  • In the Eclipse Trilogy series, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is destroyed by British fascists.
  • In The Last Ship an American ship steams up the Thames River to link up with friendly forces after a nuclear war. Through the irradiated fog can be seen the ruins of London and Big Ben.
  • Jesus destroyed the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem at His Second Coming in the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing.
  • Legacy of the Aldenata - The Washington Monument comes under massive fire from plasma and HVM rounds, as a reaction to a human sniper using the monument as a firing point. The Lincoln Memorial also is destroyed, though by human forces.
  • Star Trek: The Lost Era — The Sundered has a mention that Mecca was hit hard by World War III, including somebody detonating a nuke there in the 2050s.
  • In the Bizarro Universe Transformers: Shattered Glass story "Eye in the Sky", Rodimus hijacks the USA's Kill Sat and uses it to hold the world hostage to his demands. To show his threat is serious, he uses his control of the satellite to destroy the sword-holding Statue of Liberty.
  • Dark near-future thriller Victoria sees many iconic American monuments smashed as the nation descends into depression, disorder and civil war. Washington itself is ravaged by looters and rioters when the Federal Government evacuates to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the halls of government are ruined and defaced much like those of Detroit in real life. Protagonist John Rumford comments bitterly:
    In the former District of Columbia, the Capitol and the White House were vandalized, partly burned and finally taken over by bums and crack-heads as places to squat. Having ruined the nation, they became ruins themselves.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain - Invoked by Ciaphas, Hero Of The Imperium, in Cain's Last Stand. He mentions that he hopes that an attack on the capital city of Perlia managed to destroy a particularly hated monument to him (a clock that features him decapitating an orc every hour), but he's disappointed to learn it's still standing.
  • Campione!'s protagonist Godou will accidentally destroy in the process of fighting any monument that is introduced in the story. So much that you could probably make a Drinking Game out of it.
  • In the Wild Cards book Aces Abroad, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro has been altered to depict the version of Jesus worshipped by the Church of Jesus Christ Joker.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Aftermath: Population Zero: Famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty begin to degrade from unaddressed rust decay and erosion after about a century. The Eiffel Tower eventually disappears in a new swamp that appears in the former Paris metropolitan area. The Statue of Liberty falls apart and its pedestal is ground down by the expanding Ice Age glacier in North America.
  • The Seattle-based sketch comedy Almost Live! did a parody of Independence Day, which features the aliens blowing up various local landmarks.. that were all really ugly. The military is inclined to let the aliens carry on until the attackers make the mistake of destroying Dick's Drive-In, the town's perennial favorite Local Hangout. "Nuke 'em!!"
  • The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake and 10.5, both all-star mega-earthquake movies, both feature the Hollywood Sign being destroyed.
    • 10.5 also features the destruction of, among other landmarks, the Space Needle in Seattle and the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • 10.5: Apocalypse, the sequel to 10.5, features more U.S. landmarks meeting spectacular fates, among them Mount Rushmore.
  • Designated Survivor: The U.S. Capitol Building is blown up in a terrorist attack during a State of the Union address, which decapitates the whole government so severely that the 11th person in the line of succession (the character of the title) is sworn in as President.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Dalek Invasion of Earth": Nelson's Column gets some "Dalek graffiti" on itnote . Elsewhere, landmarks such as Battersea Power Station had fallen to Dalek bombardment (the extent of the damage is much clearer in the Special Edition DVD).
    • "Aliens of London"/"World War Three" involves a convoluted alien hoax plot (well, a convoluted hoax perpetrated by aliens) where they deliberately crash their spaceship into Big Ben to put the world on high alert in order to get their claws on the UK's nuclear launch codes.
      The Doctor: Just too perfect. I mean, hitting Big Ben, come on.
    • "In the Forest of the Night": The sudden worldwide forest causes Nelson's Column to fall, nearly hitting the Doctor and Clara.
  • In an episode of The Event, all the non-humans are trapped in a church, surrounded by government forces. Sophia responds by using their portal technology to destroy the Washington Monument and claims this was only a taste of how far they're willing to go. Turns out, it was just a bluff. The portal device only had enough fuel to open a small "window". The President proceeds to order an Apache helicopter to kill all the "terrorists".
  • In the For the People Pilot, Sandra is assigned to defend a young man accused of trying to blow up the Statue of Liberty.
  • In the Alternate History of Fringe, on 9/11/2001, terrorists have successfully attacked the Pentagon and the White House. The World Trade Center towers are still intact. The White House was rebuilt with a glass roof.
  • Full Frontal. A spoof of Independence Day has a group of Australians having a barbeque and watching with mild annoyance while the aliens are "destroying our national monuments". Cue a Flying Saucer blowing up the Big Pineapple and showering them with pineapple slices.
  • The Goodies: The award-winning "Kitten Kong" episode sees the eponymous giant kitten destroying the Post Office Tower in London (now known as the BT Tower). Not exactly a world landmark, but pretty well-known in Britain. The shot became part of subsequent seasons' episode title montage.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: When June visits Washington D.C. with Serena and Fred, she sees now that the whole Washington Monument is no more, replaced by a huge cross. The statue at the Lincoln Memorial has been half destroyed and left that way.
  • Hawkeye (2021) has this on a temporary landmark, as Clint Barton ends up stuck in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, visited by millions during the holidays, and Kate Bishop solves it by knocking the tree down with a Trick Arrow.
  • The History Channel's Life After People speculated, among other things, how long certain man-made structures would last were people to suddenly disappear. Every episode had to have at least one famous monument destroyed by the ravages of time, with said destruction always featuring in promos.
  • The Man in the High Castle
    • In season 3, the Nazis initiate a plan to tear down former American monuments, such as Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, and replacing them with ones exalting National Socialist ideology. They succeed in blowing up the Statue of Liberty in a pompous ceremony.
    • A literal version when the Japanese test an atomic bomb in Monument Valley, damaging though not actually destroying the Buttes.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Inconstant Moon", Professor Stan Hurst imagines New York City, with the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center in full view, being destroyed as a result of The Sun going nova.
    • In "Dead Man's Switch", Washington, D.C. is in ruins after the alien attack. The White House, the Capitol Building, and especially the Washington Monument are severely damaged.
    • In "Final Appeal", Ezekiel's cold fusion device detonates in the Supreme Court Building and the blastwave destroys the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument within seconds. Assuming Ezekiel was telling the truth about its blast radius, half of the Eastern Seaboard is devastated by his device.
  • In The '90s remake of The Professionals, a scientist who worked on the Star Wars program is selling control of a secret Kill Sat to an Arms Dealer, who says that for the price he's asking, the buyer would want a demonstration of its full power. The scientist tells him to let the buyer name the target—the Empire State Building or Buckingham Palace—and he can see the results on the news. He chooses the Eiffel Tower, but the scientist has a last-minute change of heart because there will be hundreds of innocent people there (like the first two options don't?).
  • In Smallville, "Salvation", Zod and his minions burn the crest of Zod onto the Great Wall of China, Temple of Athena, a pyramid, and the Washington Monument.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was pretty messed up in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when the Breen attacked Earth. "The Changing Face of Evil"
    • As in Film (above), this isn't just wanton destruction, as Starfleet Headquarters is in the Presidio right next door.
  • The Strain: In the closing scenes of the Season 3 finale, the Master's stolen nuclear bomb is detonated on Liberty Island, destroying the Statue of Liberty.
  • One episode of Ultraman had Osaka Castle get completely plowed down by the Monster of the Week Gomora.
    • in a later season, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Jack has to battle the beetle kaiju Nokogilin in Tokyo. During battle Jack dodges Nokogilin's antenna-ray, which ends up hitting the Tokyo Tower and bending into half.

    Music 
  • Part of the backstory for the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero involves a terrorist attack on Hollywood, complete with a photo of the ruined Hollywood sign.

    Pinball 
  • Attack from Mars has the Attack Mode, wherein you travel to various cities and stop the Martians from damaging their famous monuments (i.e. straightening the Tower of Pisa).
    • Its sequel, Revenge from Mars, has a mode where you must stop the Martians from playing tug-o-war with the Tower of Pisa.
  • One animation in Johnny Mnemonic's "Yakuza Strike" mode shows a man firing a rocket launcher at the Golden Gate Bridge, destroying it.

    Podcasts 
  • According to the "Would the Avengers be Better off Without the Hulk?" episode of Plumbing the Death Star, the Hulk's absence from The Avengers (2012) would force Thor to handle the nuke at the end of the movie. While he'd stop it from destroying New York, he'd probably try to return it to its owners - at the Pentagon. Needless to say, Washington D.C. would not have fared too well.

    Theme Parks 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • AlternateHistory.com:
    • Operation Teufelseelöwe is a thread lampshading many tropes. The Tower of London is destroyed by Panza tanks (prior to which the Ravens fly off with the Crown Jewels'. The Nazi attack on London also gets Tower Bridge:
      The beautiful Tower Bridge, a marvel of turn-of-the-century engineering...
      Bold and daring, she is, the perfect statement of Old World meets New as she lay in the shadow of the Tower of London. With a landmark of this fame, this glory, this history, you know it's totally fucked in a TL like this.
    • The Anglo/American – Nazi War, another thread from AH.com, has a particularly tragic example of this. After a number of key victories for the Allies signals the defeat of the Reich, the increasingly insane Nazi leadership adopt Order 571, a policy of systematic destruction across Western Europe, to basically deprive future generations of the European untermensch of centuries of European cultural heritage, and to spite the winners. Several irreplaceable monuments and works of art, including the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and the Lourdes Grotto, are not only reduced to rubble but the destructions are filmed and broadcast to Britain.
    • In The Fire Never Dies, the Red Army flattens the White House with an artillery barrage during the Battle of Washington, along with the nearby State, War, and Navy Building (today the Eisenhower Executive Office Building), in order to decapitate the White leadership.
    • For All Time has the Nazis launch an air raid on New York City. Most of their Ju-390's don't manage to get past the anti-air guns, but one manages to start a fire that damages much of Harlem and another crashes into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and the impact detonates its onboard stockpile of bombs, toppling the statue into the fire. It's rebuilt after the war.
    • In A Giant Sucking Sound, members of the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria hijack a plane and crash it into the Eiffel Tower in December 1994, causing it to collapse and kill 1,157 people. This event triggers a European War On Terror.
  • The Statue of Liberty is Cracked's #1 Iconic Building That Was Barely Saved from Destruction because "when Lady Liberty gets destroyed, it means the apocalypse is here".
  • In one of the Cheat Commandos shorts on Homestar Runner, the villainous Blue Laser plot to blow up the ocean.
    Crackotage: Those loonies are gonna blow up the ocean!
    Blue Laser Commander: We'll blow up the ocean!
  • The Monument Mythos:
    • The Cairo Tower is entirely destroyed after a run-in with a crab-like creature awakened in the Suez Canal, which carried the Evergiven freighter ship on its back right until it tripped on the tower and dumped the ship's contents into it by accident; the events killed well over a thousand people.
    • Mount Rushmore is afflicted by some manner of infection thanks to the ADA. The nature of it is unknown, but whatever it does seems to cause the whole mountain to grow bizarre stains, let the presidents' visages slowly seep into the Uncanny Valley, and sprout dozens of enormous spikes of unknown material, origin or nature by the end of the week. It's unknown, however, if this is actual damage to the monument or simply unmasking its (unknown) nature.
    • The Statue of Liberty remained unharmed for quite a while, despite its base housing some kind of corpse-eating monstrosity". At some point in time, however, it seems to have just disappeared, pedestal and all; as of 2003, the Statue of Liberty is just entirely gone.
    • Attempted with the Statue of Freedom standing atop the Capitol Building during a massive ADA riot; the rioters succeeded in shooting it off the dome. Unfortunately for them, however, the monument fought back in spades, with about 150 deaths to follow.
    • Unnervingly subverted with the Washington Monument, which holds a Special Tree within it. At some point during 2003, the Tree's transportation reflex activated, and the monument couldn't stop it from bending, but it didn't shatter either. It just bent anyways, tower and all, like the brickwork itself had become part of the tree.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of the Baby Huey Show has the fox try to kill Huey with a nuke. Cue a rip off the Liberty Statue scene.
  • Ben 10:
    • In Ben 10 the heads of Mt. Rushmore get destroyed twice and have to be replaced by holograms.
    • In Ben 10: Omniverse, after the Incurseans conquer Earth, Emperor Milleous has the Waybads replace Lincoln's head with his own, as well as the Statue of Liberty's with his daughter Attea's.
    • Played with in Ben 10 (2016). The Xerge invasion is shown on TV destroying significant landmarks throughout the world, but it's soon revealed the footage comes from Las Vegas and simply the copies of famous monuments were affected. They are invading the whole world, however.
  • The Donald Duck cartoon "Grand Canyonscope" has Donald and a mountain lion cause a landslide that fills up the Grand Canyon. The cartoon ends with Ranger Woodlore making the both of them fix it by digging up the whole canyon again.
  • The third and fourth episodes of Exo Squad each had a montage showing the Neosapien invasion of Earth that featured Neo E-Frames blowing up a number of world-renowned structures, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the United States Capitol, the Taj Mahal, and The Sphinx.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, when Timmy accidentally frees all the anti-fairies, their bad luck spree destroys several monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Final Space: The third season sees the Team Squad visiting a post-apocalyptic version of Earth after the planet was physically dragged into Final Space in Season 1, and we see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the London Eye lying in ruins.
  • Futurama:
    • There's a send-up of the trope in the episode "When Aliens Attack", by having the alien invasion occur on Monument Beach, where a former supervillain governor of New York left his collection of stolen world monuments, complete with the White House being blown up by an alien saucer in a parody of Independence Day. The aliens then go on to destroy Fry's sandcastle with a tiny saucer to complete the parody. The aliens even refer to their weapon as an "anti-monument laser".
    • Mocked again in "That Darn Katz"; when the Earth stops spinning, we see a shot of the Eiffel Tower... which snaps off and flies offscreen, only for Big Ben to land in its place. Then Big Ben is hit by a flying Statue of Liberty.
    • The Leaning Tower of Pisa gets this again, being rebuilt in Pisa after having been destroyed in Monument Beach. In "The Cryonic Woman", Fry and Bender joyride across the world with the Planet Express ship hitting the tower upright then knocked down completely with the Planet Express building being tethered behind the ship.
  • In the finale of the five-part episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero where Serpentor was born, the eponymous villain leads an attack on Washington DC, and while he doesn't damage the Lincoln Memorial, he is enough of an egotist to use it as a throne until the heroes arrive to kick him out. (As even many members of Cobra said but only Cobra Commander would say out loud, the rather spontaneous and reckless assault was the first sign that Serpentor would be no better than the guy he replaced.)
  • In Inhumanoids, Metlar animates the Statue of Liberty when he's been dosed with a love potion and is looking for a date. Possibly justified, as there aren't that many Inhumanoid-sized female statues made of metal he could choose from. Also, in the opening Story Arc, one of the statues in Metlar's army resembles the Colossus of Rhodes.
  • In the Book 2 finale of The Legend of Korra the giant version of Unalaq pulls down the statue of Aang that looks a lot like the Statue of Liberty.
  • Played for Laughs in the MGM cartoon "Little Johnny Jet". As the protagonist and his son (both anthropomorphic airplanes) rocket around the world at high speed, some famous monuments get the Trope equivalent of Amusing Injuries; the Sphinx is given a crew cut, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tilted the other way, the Eiffel Tower barely avoids a collision by lifting its "legs", and rushing past the Statue of Liberty reveals her panties as her dress is blown to the side. (Seriously.)
  • In the Bugs Bunny short Long-Haired Hare, the Hollywood Bowl collapses on the opera singer Bugs has a grudge on.
  • In the fourth episode of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, Mega Man jumped in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC when Proto Man turned his Proto Buster on it-
    Mega Man: Missed me again, number one son!
    Proto Man: But I won't miss this time! [Turns toward the Lincoln statue and begins charging up a shot]
    Mega Man: Oh no, HE'S GONNA BLAST PRESIDENT LINCOLN! [Jumps in front of Proto Man's shot to protect the statue as he fires.]
    Proto Man: HA! I knew you'd risk yourself for Mr. Lincoln!
  • In Megas XLR, Coop once filled in the Grand Canyon to defeat the Monster of the Week. Granted, it's not man-made, but it's recognizable enough to count. He destroyed the Hoover Dam in the same episode; it was faster than turning off the power (the monster fed on energy) like a sane person would.
  • Tends to be played for laughs in Metalocalypse:
    • The Louvre was burned to the ground as a birthday present for Murderface after he declared all the art in it stank.
    • Mount Rushmore was defaced by fans in protest of Dethklok's delaying their album.
    • The Sphinx ends up beheaded after a performance in Egypt, when cats started going berserk and jumped on the button that turned up the bass, the vibrations causing the Sphinx to break apart. It's seen being repaired at the end of the episode, only for the sarcophagus containing Toki's dead cat to fall on it, crushing it.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Since Ladybug's restoration power allows her to repair any damage done fighting the villain, monuments get destroyed on a semi-regular basis.
    • The Eiffel Tower is damaged in some episodes, notably in "The Mime" and "Gigantitan", where the whole tower is cut down and toppled. Fortunately, they use Ladybug's power to return everything to normal.
    • In "Anansi", Ladybug tricks the titular villain into destroying the Arc de Triomphe and causing it to fall on her. As usual, the damage is repaired by the end of the episode.
    • In "Startrain", Ladybug has the newly empowered Pegasus teleport an entire train back to Earth after defeating the villain that had turned it into a spaceship. However, his aim is off and he crashes it through Elizabeth Tower in London. Again, Ladybug magics that damage away.
    • Played as a Running Gag in "Optigami", when they repeatedly rely on Kaalki to transport them around. Each time, monuments, buildings and vehicles end up in the strangest places (deserts, the ocean, a volcano, the moon...). None of these things were even nearby; Kaalki's Power Incontinence is just that bad.
  • Rick and Morty: During Rick and Morty's Thanksploitation Spectacular, Morty mishandling a laser while helping Rick steal the Constitution ends up destroying it, the Lincoln Memorial, the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty (as well as unleashing a gigantic, steam powered robot assassin hidden inside the last as a Trojan Horse by the French). Later in the episode, the Washington Monument gets converted into a weapon to turn all of America's turkeys into super-soldiers and Morty ends up destroying it and the Lunar Flag Assembley.
  • As mentioned under Film, in the original The Transformers the episode "Atlantis Arise" centered on the Decepticons allying with the city of Sub-Atlantica to attack Washington, DC. The Decepticons damaged the Washington Monument to the point where it would have toppled had the Autobots not intervened, and Megatron himself strode into the Lincoln Memorial and ripped the Abraham Lincoln part of the statue off to claim its chair as his throne. Impossible (hence why the movie version shot the statue), but the symbolism is still effective.

    Real Life 
  • Out of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid of Giza is still with us, and even then most of its outer limestone has been looted or eroded. The others had all been destroyed by the year 1500:
    • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon may or may not have actually existed, but they're definitely gone now.
    • The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC, after standing for only 54 years.
    • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was destroyed twice. First, it was burned to the ground by some idiot named Herostratus in 356 BC. The guy's self-proclaimed only goal was to be remembered by history forever, and since we're talking about him over 2,000 years later, it obviously worked. Nevertheless, the temple was rebuilt, only to be sacked by Goths (not that kind) in 262 AD.
    • The fate of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia is unclear. It may have been destroyed in 426 AD when Byzantine emperor Theodosius II ordered its temple destroyed for being all pagan and everything. However, the statue itself may have earlier been carried off to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) because Constantine the Great decided he wanted it. According to this theory, the statue was destroyed in 475, when much of the city was wrecked by a great fire.
    • The Lighthouse of Alexandria was damaged by a series of earthquakes between 956 and 1323. Finally, in about 1480, the Citadel of Qaitbay was built on the ruins.
    • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was also destroyed by a series of earthquakes. Bodrum Castle was built on the ruins in 1494.
  • The Library of Alexandria, one of the largest collections of written knowledge in the Classical Mediterranean, was accidentally burnt down during Julius Caesar's invasion of Egypt. The Romans rebuilt it, but it was burnt down again during the Third Century Crises.
  • The Great Sphinx of Giza is missing a few of its original features, most notably its nose. Although some apocryphal stories attribute the loss to acts of vandalism by Napoleon's army, they are false, as artistic depictions of the monument dating to the mid-18th Century also show it without the nose. One of the more likely theories pins the blame on Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a Sufi Muslim from the 13th Century who defaced the Sphinx's face in an act of iconoclasm. And, according to some local legends that persisted after the ignoble deed, there was a noticeable increase in the amount of sand around the Giza Plateau after the Sphinx's nose was removed, presumably as a vengeful curse to punish al-Dahr.
  • The Turks used the Parthenon in Athens, Greece as a gunpowder magazine during the 1687 Morean War; the Venetians hit it with artillery fire and BOOM! The Turks knew the risk, because they'd accidentally blown up the Propylaea a few years earlier with stored ammunition, but they still used the Parthenon to store gunpowder and civilians. The Ottomans believed that the Venetians wouldn't attack the Parthenon. The roof of the Parthenon and supporting structures collapsed and 300 Turkish civilians died and the ruins were looted by the Venetians.
  • During the War of 1812, the British burned Washington, DC. They explicitly targeted government buildings, including the Capitol and the White House. Urban legends state that the British generals sat down in the Capitol and voted on whether they should burn the place down.
  • During the Greek War of Independence, Lord Elgin claimed that he obtained permission from Turkey to take several vital statues and relics from the Parthenon to England. He also used the fighting between Greece and Turkey during the Greek War of Independence as justification, claiming that he was protecting the relics from wartime damage. Many critics disagreed, including Lord Byron (who fought and later died in the Greek War of Independence) who felt that Elgin was a mere looter. The incident remains contentious in the 21st Century where the likes of Stephen Fry, George Clooney, and Matt Damon arguing that the marble structures be returned to Greece.
  • In the Second Opium War, when a British delegation and escort was sent to the Emperor under truce to negotiate a surrender, they were captured, imprisoned, and tortured, and twenty of them killed. In retaliation, Lord Elgin (son of the Lord Elgin who took possession of the marble pieces from Greece) ordered the destruction of the Old Summer Palace (where looting had already begun before the incident), held to be one of the oldest and most beautiful examples of Ancient Chinese architecture. It took 3500 British and French soldiers three days to set fire to the complex, much larger than Vatican City and remains a contentious issue to this day.
  • The St Mark's Campanile in Venice completely collapsed in 1902. And before you are wondering now why then it can still be seen on present-day photos (or when you are in Venice yourself) - well, it simply got rebuilt exactly as before.
  • The Bolsheviks destroyed Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 1931 in order to make room for the Palace of the Soviets, a totally epic structure which would have been the tallest building in the world at the time. They got as far as digging the foundation, but World War II intervened and derailed the project. Construction wasn't resumed after the war and, eventually, they just filled in the foundation with water to create a giant swimming pool. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the cathedral was reconstructed and today exists as it did before communism.
  • World War II, the most destructive and extensive war in all of human history, has no shortage of examples of Monumental Damage, whether accidental or deliberate.
    • Hitler had a bone to pick and didn't hesitate to lord over the French for World War I after France's surrender in 1940. The French memorial park for WWI was destroyed on Hitler's orders, and the carriage in which the 1918 Armistice was signed was taken to Berlin. All that Hitler left standing was the statue of the French General Ferdinand Foch, who was left to look over the wasteland. A repeat of the trope on a much wider scale against many cultural sites in the city was averted in 1944 as the Allies closed in on Paris; General Dietrich von Choltitz was ordered by Hitler to destroy the city as he retreated, but the order was never carried out. There is debate about why this did not happen — Von Choltitz claimed he refused due to his love of the city as well as its pointlessness from a military perspective; others, remembering his prior atrocities, have found the prior point unconvincing. Still, others believe the Germans weren't capable of that level of destruction by that point in the war, but many museums, bridges, etc. were found to have been wired with explosives.
    • The British bombing of Lübeck, which was targeted not because of its military value but because it was filled with historic wooden buildings dating from the Hanseatic period that were easier to destroy than more modern buildings common in other cities, and the Nazi retaliation in the form of the Baedeker Blitz against Exeter, Bath, Canterbury, Norwich, and York, none were strategically important but all held many famous architectural buildings which were specifically targeted because of them. The latter was called the Baedeker Blitz after a comment from the German Foreign Office made a quip that the Luftwaffe would specifically target all the buildings in Britain given three stars by the Baedeker tourist guide.
    • Warsaw suffered heavily from this trope after the failure of its uprising against the Nazis in World War II. In fact, in order to rebuilt its monuments landscapes of the city dating from the 18th century needed to be used as a model.
    • Close on Warsaw's heels in terms of wartime destruction, among Allied cities at least, is Manila, capital of the Philippines, which itself was subjected to a monumental (pun intended) case of this during World War II when extreme American shelling and ferocious Japanese house-to-house fighting practically levelled the old, Spanish/American colonial metropolis. Within the walls of Intramuros (its Citadel City core) alone, almost all of the grand old colonial-era churches and government buildings were mostly, if not completely, obliterated; only the San Agustin cathedral survived it mostly intact. The comparisons to Warsaw among destroyed Allied cities are well-known and often-shared. Unlike with Warsaw, though, Manila's record of restoring prewar architecture is … largely hit-and-miss.
      • In all fairness, however, this isn't entirely new to Manila (or many other Philippine cities for that matter); they and the entire archipelago they're on lie smack along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means periodic volcanic eruptions and earthquakes galore. Many of those same, iconic Manila churches and public buildings, even before WWII, already have a prior record of cyclical destruction and rebuilding. (As recently as 1863 and 1880 there were major earthquakes, already with photographic evidence, that laid low belfries and even caused the total redesign of some churches.)
      • Going further back to early Spanish rule, the frequent and destructive earthquakes forced revisions to colonial building codes and led to the development of the unique, hybrid bahay na bato style, consisting usually of a stone ground floor and wooden upper floors. (Bahay na bato literally means "stone house" in Tagalog, but it's applied as well to those hybrid houses.) On the other hand, other colonial buildings were made exceptionally strong and durable, with squat profiles and detached belfries, in even more earthquake-prone locations; see the Ilocos region, where most colonial houses and churches are at their sturdiest.)
    • The Nazis anticipated this would happen to Munich during the war, and took extensive photographs of the city so it could be rebuilt to its former glory. In reality, Munich's postwar rebuild is rather Zigzagged. The city was bombed so much, that the reconstruction of the Bavarian Palace is still ongoing and is expected to be completed in the 2040s. Despite this, the four tallest pre-War structures still stand with only one taking minor damage (from an Allied Plane crashing into the spire, knocking the top part off). This is because they were aligned in the cardinal directions and Allied bombers would use the building as a compass to their target in the city, and purposely avoided this trope. The U.S. was able to find all the documentation of Munich in a bunker after the war and was able to rebuild it.
    • One side effect of the war is that over half the historical buildings in Germany will usually be replicas of the actual buildings that ended up destroyed in the war.
    • Berlin's monuments were not spared either. If you look closely you can still find bullet holes in the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building, which were heavily fought over during the Battle of Berlin.
    • Much of the Nazis' own monumental architecture was built in order to Exploit this trope. Nazi architect and urban/industrial planner Albert Speer called it "ruin value" and argued that should the Thousand-Year Reich's millennium run out prematurely, the ruins of what they built should continue to serve as symbols of the glory that was Germany for thousands of years more, citing the ancient ruins of Greece, Egypt, and Rome (much of which are also listed here) as examples.
  • The Iraq War claimed numerous artifacts and buildings, some dating back to the earliest human civilizations:
    • While the U.S. didn't bomb the Iraqi National Museum during the initial invasion, they neglected to secure the museum in the massive wave of looting that took place after the fall of Saddam's regime. Thousands of statues, vases, steles, friezes, and pieces of pottery were stolen or broken, while the Harp of Ur and an ancient Mesopotamian calendar considered to be the oldest written calendar in the world were destroyed. To date, only a fraction of the missing pieces have been recovered.
    • Al-Askari Shrine in Samarra, built in 944 AD and one of the most important Shia Muslim shrines in the world, was bombed twice by extremists in February 2006 and June 2007. Fortunately, the shrine's golden dome and minarets were restored relatively quickly and the building was reopened in 2009.
  • Shuri Castle, the political center of the Ryukyu Kingdom on Okinawa for four and a half centuries, was destroyed five times since it was first built, two of those times in the years after said kingdom had been annexed by Japan. During the Battle of Okinawa, with its underground complex being used by the defending Imperial Japanese Army as a headquarters, it was shelled for three days by the United States Navy and caught on fire for several days before United States Marines captured it. After the war the complex was eventually rebuilt and reopened to the public as a park in 1992...and then burned down again in 2019, this time by accident.
  • On February 18th, 1965, 3 members of the Black Liberation Front (and one white French-Canadian women, a supporter of Quebec liberation from Canada), were arrested in New York for a terrorist conspiracy to destroy the Washington Monument, the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty. The suspected mastermind of the attack was Che Guevera.
  • Averted in the case of the Abu Simbel temple complex in Egypt, which was disassembled and relocated in 1968 to prevent it from being submerged following the construction of Aswan High Dam.
  • The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake damaged the upper deck of the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, as well as causing the Cypress Structure, a double-decker freeway in Oakland, to collapse. The hated Embarcadero Freeway along the San Francisco waterfront was so heavily damaged that it was demolished, with the city redeveloping the area with vintage streetcars.
  • In 1992, a political rally of Hindu Right-Wing extremists attacked and destroyed the Babri Masjid, a four hundred and sixty-five hundred-year-old structure and an example of early Mughal architecture.
  • The Giant Buddhas of Bamyan (Afghanistan) were destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001.
  • The fall of the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11, as well as the attack on the Pentagon (which unlike the Twin Towers managed to be rebuilt) and the planned attack on either the White House or the Capitol building. These targets were chosen specifically because they were highly recognizable landmarks that served as symbols of American power. This is a popular trope with terrorists in Real Life, as such landmarks are usually popular tourist destinations as well as having great sentimental value — successfully blowing one sky-high is a very effective way to get people's attention.
    • Even when the cause isn't terrorism, planes flying into buildings isn't unheard of. In 1945, a B-25 bomber accidentally flew into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building after becoming lost in fog. Ultimately averted, however, in that the crash did not seriously damage the building, although fourteen people were killed (including the crew).
    • In April 2002, just a few months after 9/11, a single-engine plane flew into the iconic Pirelli Tower in Milan, Italy, in what was later determined to be possible suicide.
  • The Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire was a large granite cliff edge that resembled the profile of an old man's face. The formation was a famous landmark for centuries and a subject of Sigil Spam for New Hampshire, appearing on highway signs, toll tokens, license plates, and the state's quarter. Years of erosion took its toll on the cliff and the formation collapsed in 2003, much to the state's heartache. A memorial for the formation opened in 2010.
  • The collapsed National Palace of Haiti (basically the Haitian White House) after the 2010 earthquake. To give you an idea, this is what it looked like before. They say that the President was lucky he wasn't there when the earthquake hit.
  • The August 2011 Virginia Earthquakes was felt as far north as New York and shook enough to cause damage to the Washington Monument, forcing it to close for almost three years as it underwent repairs.
  • Big Tex, one of the Dallas area's most noted landmarks, was destroyed by an electrical fire at the end of the 2012 Texas State Fair.
  • At the height of its rampage in the mid-2010s, the Islamic State was notorious for destroying several ancient ruins in the lands it conquered. Sadly, this was among the least of their atrocities.
  • On April 15, 2019, Paris' iconic Notre Dame Cathedral was severely damaged in a fire. The blaze engulfed much of the upper part of the cathedral and caused the central spire to collapse.
  • The Last Supper, despite being a world-famous painting, has suffered an astonishing amount of abuse over the centuries. With the combination of the unconventional painting techniques Leonardo used (making it less stable than a regular fresco) and severe environmental damage (moisture and smoke inside the chapel made the paint deteriorate; then there was the vandalism during the French Revolution, bombing during World War II, multiple bungling "restoration" attempts, and some complete bozo cutting a door through Jesus' feet), it's a wonder the painting has survived at all. The Other Wiki has the gory details.
  • Some monuments (like e.g. The Noseless Great Sphinx of Giza or the Colosseum in Rome) have been in a damaged state since so long ago that said damage itself has become part of their iconic appearance. In fact, these ruins and others (such as the Parthenon) played a major influence on Albert Speer's theory of ruin value.
  • By The '70s, the Hollywood Sign overlooking Los Angeles was falling apart. A picture of its dire state before its 1978 restoration serves as the page image for the Fall of the Studio System, showing it missing the last O, the first O having become a U due to damage, and the other letters all showing wear and tear, such that it looked like it said "Hullywo d".

 
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