What would be worse than blowing up the Taj Mahal?

Yahoo!'s news headlines yesterday had an item about somebody sending a letter saying there was a threat to blow up the Taj Mahal. I haven’t seen any follow-up reports, but that’s not the issue here.

What other landmark would be even sadder to lose to some dickwad terrorist-vandal getting his or her jollies destroying something the rest of the world cherishes?

Even if you don’t personally cherish the Taj Mahal, surely there’s something manmade or natural on the face of the earth that you would hate to see obliterated.

Some choices:

Eiffel Tower
Empire State Building
Golden Gate Bridge
Great Wall of China
St. Louis Arch
Indianapolis Speedway
Churchill Downs

The whole thing?

Yeah. With timed charges so it goes up like fireworks and rains down for a few weeks. That would be pretty bad, right?

Statue Of Liberty
Washington Monument
White House

How about those colossal statues of Buddha in the Bamyan Valley in Afghanistan?

Oh, wait…

Arc de Triomphe (I’m sure I misspelled that)
Tower of Big Ben
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Those whatchamacallit towers in Kuala Lumpur
Lincoln Memorial
Brandenburg Gate
Neuschwanstein Castle

Uh, is there some other Leavenworth hidden away in a lacuna of my spotty knowledge of U.S. landmarks, or do you just have a soft spot for maximum-security penitentiaries?

Yeah. If they were to blow up Leavenworth (the Castle) then we’d have to build another. Either that or refurbish The Rock.

It was primarily a joke in that I didn’t expect everybody to treat this issue with a box of Kleenex handy. I’m already pissed about the Trade Towers, the rainforest, New Orleans, and even some old buildings in my area they have knocked down for parking lots and such.

I would really be sad for some time if the Taj got bombed. That would be a real downer.

I’m pretty sure the Indianapolis Speedway or Churchill Downs could be rebuilt in relatively short order. I doubt the Taj Mahal could ever be rebuilt.

Since the Taj Mahal is widely considered one of the most beautiful buildings currently standing on the planet, it’s hard to come up with equivalencies. I guess as far as coming up with a single icon that represents (to many) the country it’s in, you could say:

Sydney Opera House
Statue of Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro)
Hagia Sofia

I almost listed the Hagia Sofia and the Rio statue in the OP – for the reasons you stated.

I suspect there are holy places of much less artistic renown that would affect some of the more devout followers of various religions. Notre Dame Cathedral would be hard to lose. Maybe even the Mormon Tabernacle.

What about famous hotels or office buildings? Surely there are some at least as highly regarded as the World Trade Center was. That huge one in Singapore maybe?

Well, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, The Bank of China tower in Hong Kong, and Taipei 101 are highly regarded tall buildings.

Toronto’s CN Tower and Seattle’s Space Needle are other tall and well-regarded landmarks.

The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is the tallest and most expensive hotel in the world.

No one’s mentioned the Pyramids? The Sphinx? Abu Simbel? The Step Pyramid? Pick anything from the hundreds of sites in Egypt and I’d cringe bitterly at its loss.

I’m also particularly keen about keeping Teotihuacan and any number of Mayan, Incan, Zapotec, etc. cities around. These are all important monuments of human achievement.

The Parthenon.

Oh, never mind…

Any museum or art gallery, no matter how small.

How exactly would one go about blowing up the pyramids? You could probably drop a nuke on them and they’d be not much worse for the wear.

The Taj is by several orders of magnitude the most exquisitely beautiful architecture I’ve seen in person. I’d be extremely peeved if someone blew it up.

Penn Station, Croton Reservoir, the Waldorf-Astoria - forget the terrorists, we should be keeping an eye on real estate developers.

Not as big as the others listed, but in my opinion the most beautiful building in the world: St Basil’s Cathedral. That’d be horrible to lose.

The CN Tower was already allegedly on “the list” of targets the 18 suspected terrorists in Ontario had drawn up, so that right there is pretty high on my list.

I don’t think one has much to worry about when it comes to ancient artifacts like the Sphynx and such. They’re not really of any strategic importance other than that their destruction would piss a lot of people off. Certain buildings at least would have strategic value in disrupting government, commerce or other important processes, plus kill some people and maybe take out a few other buildings in the process.

It’s kind hard to choose a target that’s not already close to home whose destruction is more or less depressing than another’s, though.

I agree it’s pretty hard to come up with buildings that come close to the beauty and scope of the Taj Mahal, but both St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican might come close. And while I wouldn’t mourn the loss of the buildings themselves as much as the Taj Mahal, the contents of the Louve, the Prado, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are irreplaceable.

The Space Needle in Seattle and the Chrysler building in New York don’t measure up to the Taj Mahal, but I’d miss them.