6 Easter Eggs You Didn't Know Are Hidden In Famous Landmarks

Each year millions of people spend bucketfuls of their hard-earned cash to travel to famous landmarks, snap a selfie, and then wonder what the hell else they're going to do until the flight back home. Well, those people are obviously unaware that cool little secrets lurk all around you -- if you know where to look. We're talking about stuff like ...

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6
Central Park's Secret Coordinates

Jean-Christophe Benoist/Wiki Commons

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At night, the 843 acres of Manhattan's Central Park are lit by 1,600 cast-iron street lamps, because the last thing you want is to get stranded in a sprawling wooded area in the pitch dark, where you're likely to stub your toe on a mutant alligator or become the prey in the nightly Predator-style hunt put on by the locals.

Designed by architect Henry Bacon (designer of a little thing known as the Lincoln Memorial) in 1907, the base of each street lamp bears a plaque inscribed with a mysterious number. If you've ever noticed one of them at all, you probably assumed it was some kind of serial number, or perhaps a running tally of how many times that particular lamp has been peed on by a random drunk.

Matt Young  Silly you. The numbers are nowhere near high enough for that.

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Actually, those numbers are there to help you escape from New York quicker than Kurt Russell can slap on a badass eyepatch. Here's the secret: The first two (sometimes three) numbers on the post indicate the nearest cross street, while the last number indicates which side of the park you're on -- odd numbers for west, even numbers for east. So post number 6126, for instance, means you're near 61st Street, East Side, while post number 6666 means you're about to get tossed off a balcony by a demonic toddler.

Matt Young  Or perhaps get bitten by sentient tetanus.

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So there you go. Next time you're in New York, you can close Google Maps and conserve your phone battery for more important tasks, like snapping selfies with street lamps.

5
The Vatican's Hidden Erotic Bathroom

Wolfgang Stuck/Wiki Commons

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With its myriad hidden passageways, secret chambers, and constant drone of incomprehensible incantations, the Vatican is basically Hogwarts without the Satanic influence. Each year, five million people visit the City That God Built in an attempt to get a peek at the Pope's funny hat and maybe sneak a bottle or twelve of all that "communion" wine. Of those five million, we're betting approximately not a one of them suspects that they're just steps away from Christendom's bawdiest bathroom.

Way back in the early 1500s, one Cardinal Bibbiena became obsessed with the titillating pagan motifs being unearthed in ancient Roman ruins. Thus, he looked up his homeboy Raphael and tasked him with recreating them in one of the bathrooms within the papal apartments. Raphael proceeded to cover the walls of the chamber with more bare-ass Roman goddesses than you can shake a stick at, after which Bibbiena proceeded to hop in the bath and do whatever it is a highly sexually repressed man does when naked and surrounded by a full 360 degrees of smut.

Lesley Thelander Invoke the Lord's name a lot?

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In the years since, the so-called Stufetta della Bibbiena has sort of become the Vatican's dirty little secret. The chamber has been stripped of its bath and other accoutrements. Its walls have been painted over and then restored in the mid-19th century by a Catholic art expert -- because porn painted by Raphael is still porn painted by goddamned Raphael.

If you'd like to take in some papal porn firsthand (so to speak), good luck: the holy types at the Vatican open the Stufetta almost never, and some of the most risque frames -- such as the mid-rape of Minerva by Vulcan -- have been destroyed. Hilariously, at least one attempt at such censorship utterly backfired: An effort to cover up Pan's weird, index-finger-looking boner with white paint only succeeded in making it appear as if history's most famous satyr was packing a meat missile capable of rendering any nymph incapable of sitting for a week.

Tony Perrottet "Didn't your mother ever tell you that it's rude to point?"

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4
Pixar's Secret Speakeasies

DPR Construction

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If you ever get a tour of the Pixar offices, there are a couple of spots they're probably not going to let you see. Or maybe they will, if you're cool enough.

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The backstory is that one day, Pixar animator Andrew Gordon discovered a hatch in his office revealing a passageway just large enough to accommodate a human-sized creature. As luck would have it, Gordon was in fact a human-sized creature himself, so he crawled right on through to what would surely be either Narnia or the slavering jaws of some awaiting hellbeast.

Xiaxue Gordon obviously never got the "NO DON'T CRAWL INTO THAT!" lesson from his parents as a toddler.

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Disappointingly, all he found was a small, stark room providing access to the building's air-conditioning valves. But, after presumably clearing out all the janitor skeletons, Gordon set straight to hauling in a full bar, groovy lighting, and leopard print bedding for, um, entertaining.

Thus was born the Love Lounge, and -- as the signatures on the walls can attest -- over the years it's been a happenin' hangout for the likes of Tim Allen, Michael Eisner, Roy Disney, and Steve Jobs, who preferred to call it the Meditation Room. Hey, whatever makes you feel better about masturbating at work, Steve.

Xiaxue If these walls could talk, they could tell you all about the Apple founder's dongle.

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Sadly, Gordon eventually upgraded to an office not connected to the air vent room. That simply couldn't stand, however, so he transformed the space neighboring his new digs into the Love Lounge's spiritual successor, the Lucky 7 Lounge. Visitors are no longer forced to crawl through a cramped duct, instead entering via a sliding bookcase activated by a button hidden within a Shakespearean bust -- which is, of course, the proper way to enter a top-secret watering hole for animators and Batmen alike.

Xiaxue Why yes, he worked on The Incredibles. Why do you ask?

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3
Thailand's Buddhist/Pop Culture Temple

JJ Harrison/Wiki Commons

Each year, Buddhist temples such as Laos's Pha That Luang and Indonesia's Borobudur are overrun by scads of tourists who secretly suspect that all Buddhist monks are either kung fu experts or airbenders. It's understandable -- the temples' ornate architecture and often idyllic locations make them some of the most unique places in the world to visit. And Thailand's Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple) is ... more unique than most. Designed by the nation's eminent Buddhist artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple opened in 1997 and is still a work in progress, with a planned completion date of 2100.

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Your first indication that this ain't your granddaddy's Buddhist temple comes the moment you arrive, as demonic traffic cones lead you to your parking space:

Heiko S/Flickr "Oh, sorry, I didn't realize this space was reserved for Ghost Rider."

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Things only get weirder when, as you approach the temple, you're startled by a goddamned Predator returning from the grave:

Jan Albrecht

In order to enter the temple proper, you must cross over the "cycle of death and rebirth," which is a fancy metaphysical way to describe a horrific pit of ghostly hands that reach for you in seek of handouts (donations may be made in US Dollars, Thai baht, or fresh arterial blood).

Arnie Cooper "Or brains. Brains will do."

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Believe it or not, the temple gets even more bizarre once you're inside. That's where Kositpipat has splashed the walls with elaborate murals depicting the destructive effects of worldwide greed and desire, a message that is bafflingly conveyed with the help of pop icons such as Michael Jackson, Freddy Krueger, Spider-Man, and freaking Kung Fu Panda.

Travel Photo Report "The road to hell is paved with the King of Pop and also Terminators." - Chalermchai Kositpipat

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It's all fun and games until you round a corner and are greeted by a detailed depiction of the 9/11 attacks ... being perpetrated by Angry Birds. Right about now is when you might decide that perhaps the type of "enlightenment" Chalermchai Kositpipat really needs is a good ol' kick in the dick.

Travel Photo Report "I'ma enlighten your ass up."

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2
Lake Titicaca's Floating Islands

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

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Being the largest lake in South America and sitting at more than 12,000 feet above sea level, Lake Titicaca bears the dual distinction of being both breathtakingly beautiful and a self-contained punchline. Once you're done giggling like a schoolboy, we'd like to tell you about the lake's islands. Titicaca. Go on, take all the time you need.

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Now, it's not unusual for a lake the size of Titicaca to have islands and, if you're visiting, you probably would feel no need to investigate them. What is unusual, however, is that Titicaca's are handmade. Even more unusual, they're handmade entirely out of reeds.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters And here we can't even assemble our IKEA cabinet correctly.

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The Uros tribe predates the Inca civilization and -- if you ask them -- even predates the sun. As has been their custom since before the solar system even existed (somehow), the Uros spend their days hunting the shores of Titicaca, fishing its vast waters, and building every damn thing out of the reeds that grow alongside it. Every damn thing.

Jenny Mealing You know, like IKEA, but replace the particleboard with reeds.

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That's right: Everything from their homes to the islands on which they're built is composed entirely from the totora plants that grow abundant and thick in the lake's shallow waters. Since the reeds lack the longevity of more durable, modern materials such as concrete or, say, cardboard, the islands must be replenished with fresh totora several times a year. While we might all lament our perpetual struggle to stay afloat in regard to bills and such, for the Uros life is a literal, perpetual struggle to stay afloat.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters "This thing is made from fresh totora, right? Right?"

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Though they list "lake" in the residence box on their tax returns and live in domiciles built from Ice Age materials, modernity is gradually creeping into the Uros' lifestyle. Solar panels adorn rooftops. Televisions chatter across the reeds. There's even a radio station, which breaks all the islands' latest (presumably reed-related) news.

They still maintain that whole "older than the sun" thing, though.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters Admittedly, so would we.

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1
The Zero Mile Markers In Every Major City

Michael Reeve/Wiki Commons

Most idioms are not literal, which is a good thing in the cases of "it costs an arm and a leg" and "a penny for your gonads." But the origin of the phrase "all roads lead to Rome" is quite literal: In 20 BCE, Emperor Caesar Augustus erected the Golden Milestone, the point to and from which all distances in the Empire would be measured. The Empire fell, of course, and with it its Golden Milestone, but the idea of the Zero mile marker carried on. Today, you can find one at the dead center of many major cities.

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America's most prominent Zero Milestone lies in Washington, D.C., commemorating the starting point of the first transcontinental motor convoy. While it was intended to be the radiating point for all measured distances in the nation, today it's a mostly forgotten hunk of granite -- though it would probably come in handy for getting a clear pic of the White House over the heads of other tourists:

Library of Congress, Roadside America Or possibly for opening a gateway to another dimension, if you know the correct incantation.

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Other cities followed suit and designated their own Zero milestones. Tennessee's, for example, was unveiled by the creepy ghost twins from The Shining:

Federal Highway Administration  "Come play with us."



Similar markers can be found throughout the world. Obviously, nations other than America use pagan measurements, so theirs are generally known as Kilometer Zero. The one in Santiago, Chile, appears to argue that simplest is best:

Carlos yo/Wiki Commons It's OK if you click away, just be sure to come back after you book your flight to Chile.

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While the Germans' girthy example is the milestone equivalent of an earsplitting Mustang driven by a former high school quarterback with inadequacy issues:

Angela Monika Arnold/Wiki Commons "Mile one? More like mile 10, if you catch our drift."

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They're like Pokemon -- everywhere, fun to track down, yet fairly pointless in the grand scheme of things. Hell, they were largely pointless even back before the days of GPS, when an old-timey constable was stationed round-the-clock to guard the so-called London Stone:

McLeish "I say, good sir, I appear to be guarding a useless hunk of rock."

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For more actual easter eggs, check out 5 Cool Secret Codes Hiding In Plain Sight Around The World and Crazy Secret Places Hidden In The Middle Of Famous Locations.

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