These are the 10 most visited countries in the world and some interesting facts about each one Thailand grew its tourism industry by almost 20 percent in 2013 jumping ahead of last year’s number 10 country Mexico Thailand’s name in Thai means land of the free which is true as it’s the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized by a European power the capital Bangkok is the most visited city on the planet it used to be called the Venice of the east as many buildings were built on stilts to rise above water filled canals although most are filled today 1/10 of all animal species on earth live in Thailand including the world’s smallest mammal the bumblebee bat weighing just two grams

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Russia is home to 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites it makes sense there would be a lot given that its land area is bigger than Pluto Russia is so massive it spans nine time zones down from 11 a few years ago the country’s most famous natural attraction is Lake Baikal the oldest and deepest lake in the world holding 20 percent of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater partially because it’s so miserably called one of the favorite pastimes is drinking the Russian government estimated that alcohol abuse prematurely kills 500,000 people a year

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The United Kingdom is the ninth largest and third most populated island in the world behind Indonesia’s Java and Japan’s Honshu and almost 75% of the land in the UK is used for farming the British invented the world’s earliest railways London’s River Thames has over 200 bridges and tunnels along its course Big Ben refers to the Bell and not the clock and in 1945 a flock of birds landed on its minute-hand putting the time back five minutes speaking of birds look slightest Birds there are more chickens living in the UK than people

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Germany is Europe’s economic powerhouse exporting 1.5 trillion dollars worth of goods in 2013 second only to China but it’s second to none in its number of zoos with over 400 the amazing neuschwanstein castle seems computer-generated and was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty cave more than 61 million people have visited it Germany’s Autobahn is the world’s oldest motorway network in the world and then there’s the beer Munich’s two-week Oktoberfest draws a staggering six million visitors each year Germans recently dropped to third in the world behind the Austrians and checks for most beer consumed per capita

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Turkey’s largest city Istanbul is the largest city in Europe and the only one in the world with a population of more than 1 million people to span two continents it’s been the capital city of three of the world’s great empires the Roman Byzantine and ottoman and Istanbul will soon be home to the world’s largest airport the model for Santa Claus Saint Nicholas was born in Turkey turkey is the most heavily Muslim country with a secular democracy in the world the bird does get its name from the country because the birds were imported to Central Europe through Turkey we in the West also have the Turks to thank for introducing us to coffee

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Italia’s home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world including the Colosseum Venice the Vatican Florence the Leaning Tower of Pisa the vineyards of piedmont Pompeii Naples Sicily the Italian Alps the Amalfi Coast the Italian Riviera and Lake Como I could go on all day all that’s pretty amazing when you consider the country’s just slightly larger than the US state of Arizona with the introduction of the tomato from the Americas Pizza the world’s most popular food was invented in the 1700s by the peasants of Naples

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China is the world’s oldest continuous civilization and actually trails Italy by just 350 to 47 in terms of total world heritage sites the great wall was built to try and keep out jenga’s Kahn and his Mongol army but it didn’t work China’s mega city Shanghai has the fastest train in the world hitting 311 miles per hour Beijing’s immense Forbidden City is the world’s largest palace covering more than 170 acres more than 30 million northern Chinese living yo dongs which are housed caves that brilliantly used the earth to stay warm door the cold winter and cold during the hot summer natural attractions include the epic Huang Shang mountain range which inspired scenes in Avatar and the larger-than-life Three Gorges area of the Yangtze River home to the Three Gorges Dam that produces more electricity than any other power station in the world

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Spain is a top holiday destination for Europeans mainly because it has over 3,000 miles of gorgeous coastline but Barcelona’s beaches didn’t exist until the 1992 Olympics allowed Spain to transform the city’s industrial coastline into miles of sandy beaches that are now considered some of the best in the world the Spanish speak the second most spoken language in the world behind Mandarin Chinese English is third another interesting factoid is that Spain didn’t fight in the first or second world wars and Madrid is one of those rare big cities that doesn’t sit on a major body of water although its name means the place of many streams the intricately detailed Alhambra fortress Palace is the crown jewel of a country that prides itself on architectural beauty it was constructed during Muslim rule over the Iberian Peninsula in the ninth century

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Visitors to the USA spent nearly 140 billion dollars in 2013 more than twice as much as second place Spain Halden New York is basically the capital of the world with over 800 different languages spoken within the city out west LA is Hollywood sign was built in 1923 as a massive advertisement from what was then a brand-new real estate development it used to say Hollywood land the US Navy wanted to paint San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge black with yellow stripes for visibility America’s aviation safety agency was created in 1958 as a result of two planes that collided trying to get a better view of the epic Grand Canyon and the first atom was split in Chicago in 1942 leading to the nuclear age

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The most visited country by far is France although there’s a lot less of it to visit than when the French Empire covered 8.6 percent of the world’s land area France is one of the few countries in the world where than number of tourists exceeds its population of 66 million people Paris’s Eiffel Tower has been visited more than 200 million times making it the most visited paid tourist attraction in the world it was the world’s tallest structure until New York’s Chrysler Building was completed in 1930 the world’s most visited museum the Louvre started out as a fortress was at one point abandoned and was even renamed the moose a Napoleon after the egomaniacal French conquer Normandy’s spectacular Mont saint-michel is accessible in low tide but surrounded by water in high tide I hope you enjoyed this little tour around the world

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