11/26/2011 09:41 am ET | Updated Jan 26, 2012

World's Most Controversial Monuments (PHOTOS)

Some of the world's most impressive monuments have backstories of bickering, that can give travelers insight into local culture, history and priorities. Even when a monument's construction is well publicized, a positive reception isn't guaranteed, whether because of differing aesthetic tastes, costliness or partisanship.

At its dedication on October 16, 2011, opposition to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall's outsourced-to-China design and execution overshadowed the celebration. Poet Maya Angelou went so far as to state that the inscription on the memorial, a quote from King, made him "look like an arrogant twit."

A series of such controversies at the National Mall inspired Kirk Savage to write the book Monument Wars. He notes that even the development of the Washington Memorial--today accepted as a national treasure -- was a battle.

"The Washington Monument itself took over 50 years to build. There were incredible problems," Savage said in a PBS broadcast about the MLK Jr. monument hullabaloo. "Nobody really wanted an obelisk." Read on for the inside story on that and more monumental controversies.

--Carey Reed Zamarriego

World's Most Controversial Monuments

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