7 Famous Memorials from Around the World

A picture of the Arc de Triomphe, one of the world's most famous memorials Click image to view full size
A picture of the Arc de Triomphe, one of the world's most famous memorials

While memorials should, without doubt, be completely personal, there is sometimes a case for making a more public, well-known one. There are a number of incredibly well-known, high profile and famous memorials found throughout the world. You may have perhaps even visited one, or a few of them.

Memorials are an expressive tool; the decision to erect a public memorial is a profound dedication to remembering lives lost. Famous memorials are also a powerful way to remember important events and people. Here at Cope Memorials, we wanted to take a brief look at a few of them, and what makes them so special.

Here are 7 famous memorials found around the world:

1. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

tomb of the unknown soldier

This is more of a concept than a specific structure. It encompasses all memorials that simply wish to commemorate unnamed or unknown individuals for their heroic acts are excellent ways of commemorating people. Every continent has one, highlighting the popular nature of this concept. For example, in the UK, we have ‘Tomb of the Unknown Warrior’ which can be found at Westminster Abbey in London. 

2. Holocaust Memorials

holocaust memorial in berlin germany

Holocaust memorials are the most high profile memorials found throughout Europe. They remember so many people, and yet still manages to represent them as individuals. The most famous and largest Holocaust memorial is called ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’ found in Berlin, Germany. It comprises of 2, 711 rectangular slabs, and creates a relatively unorganised feeling. This could have been intended to represent the victims’ diversity, but, overall, the monuments’ sombre nature is certainly appropriate for the circumstances.

3. The Cenotaph

memorial crosses with remembrance poppies on the front

The Cenotaph is one of London’s more well-known war memorials and found in Whitehall. It was officially unveiled in 1920, and represents the end of the First World War. Cenotaph literally means ‘empty tomb’; it symbolises the unprecedented losses suffered around the world during the conflict.

Originally it was designed as a temporary structure, erected for a peace parade following the end of the First World War. However, after an outpouring of national sentiment, it was replaced in 1920 by a permanent structure. An annual memorial service is always held on Remembrance Sunday (Nov 11th) at the Cenotaph memorial.

4. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

martin luther king jr memorial in america

We could have chosen from a great, wide range of respectful, well-designed memorials to honour individuals. But Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memorial is one of the more high profile examples, consisting of a stone carving of the man himself. It represents a fitting dedication to a great man, and honours the struggle in America for freedom and equality.

5. Arc de Triomphe

arc de triomphe in paris france

Paris’ iconic memorial honours all those who fought and died for France in the Napoleonic and Revolutionary wars. Construction on the Arc began in 1806; it lies at the end of the Champs-Élysées, and remains one of the primary tourist attractions for the city to this day. Interestingly, a tomb of the unknown soldier lies underneath the memorial.

6. 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero

9/11 memorial in new york city

This memorial site opened in New York City on 11th September 2011, ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. The memorial commemorates the close to 3,000 people who died in the 11th September 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing which killed six.

It is located at the former World Trade Center’s location, and has two reflecting pools, now in place of where the twin towers once stood. Surrounding these pools are bronze panels with all the names of the people who died have been inscribed. Also, there are 400 swamp white oak trees surrounding the plaza, one of which is named “survivor tree”. This particular tree was at the site before the 9/11 attacks and subsequently nurtured back to health; it symbolises new growth.

7. Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

killing fields of choeung ek in phnom penh cambodia

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek memorial opened in 1988 and can be found on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. It commemorates over one million people executed during the Khmer Rouge regime. It is located on a former orchard and mass grave of victims of the Khmer Rouge, killed between 1975 and 1979.

Contact Us

While we have never been involved in any memorial construction plans of the magnitude mentioned in this post, we are one of the leading stonemasons in the East Midlands. 

Cope Memorials are a fourth generation family of memorial makers; our master stonemasons are highly experienced and skilled and we have over 110 years of experience in our trade. If you’re looking for a memorial for a loved one or you require any our services, please do get in touch with us and call us on 01773 602 187, or fill out an online contact form.