13 Places Where Photography is Banned

Places where photography is banned

If you are an ardent traveler and love to capture the moments along with, you should learn first whether you are permitted to take photos within the territories of your interest. Museums, places of worship, historically important places, and secured administrative areas discourage taking photographs. These places ban photography to protect valuable artworks, or to protect copyright. There are some other places where you are allowed to take photos but you can not carry tripods or selfie sticks for that purpose. Below we are going to provide a list of 13 places where photography is banned. You can follow this list for your references.

1. The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world due to its artistic values. The disappointing thing is that visitors are not allowed to take photos or videos inside it. Nippon Television Network Corporation,  Japan, financed the restoration work of the chapel which took place from 1980 to 1994. The process cost them $4.2 million which entitled them to receive the exclusive rights to the film and photograph the famous artwork. The deal expired in 1997, 3 years later once all the restoration work was complete in 1994, but the Vatican decided to keep the photography ban in effect to protect the precious artworks from harmful camera flashes.

The Sistine Chapel , Photography Ban

By Alex Proimos, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons, curid=25650369

2. The Pentagon

The Pentagon, being the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, is the most secured place in the world. So it is no wonder that there would be restrictions about taking photographs in that place. However, if you can schedule an official tour, you can explore the area without taking any photos. In fact, you are not even allowed to enter the place with your mobile phones or any other suspected devices.

The Pentagon In US, No Photos

By Mariordo Camila Ferreira; Mario Duran – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

3. The Taj Mahal

From the outward appearance, you might get wrong thinking that the Taj Mahal in India is a mosque or a palace. But in truth, it is a mausoleum built by the commission of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in remembrance of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. As a result, visitors are denied to take photographs inside the mausoleum and asked to keep quiet within the establishment.

The Taj Mahal in India, Keep quiet inside

4. The Supreme Court of the United States

If you are visiting the Supreme Court of the United States, you are permitted to take personal photos of the public spaces. However, you are not allowed to take photos inside the courtroom as per Federal Rule 53. The rule states that “Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.”

The US Supreme Court, No photos during proceedings

5. The Tower of London

There are lots of things that could spark tourists’ attraction in the Tower of London: the architecture, the armory, the treasury, the royal mint, the menagerie, and the public record office. However, conceivably, the home of Crown Jewels is the most valuable feature in the palace. The sad thing is you can not attempt or take photos of these valuable jewels. Even if you try to do so, there are security guards who would stop you immediately.

The Tower of London, Secured place due to housing valuable jewelsPhoto by Joseph Gilbey on Unsplash

6. The Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a historical building in Amsterdam, Netherland which incorporates a biographical museum of the Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. During World War II, Anne Frank and her family took hiding in this place to avoid Nazi persecution. However, due to ill-fate, they were captured after 2 years of hiding. Due to the historical importance, many people visit the place, but it is not allowed to take photos inside to preserve the things within and avoid causing distractions to others.

The Anne Frank House- historically very important

By dronepicr,  Wikimedia Commons

7. West Minster Abbey

West Minster Abbey is a gothic church located in the city of West Minster, London, England. It is one of the UK’s most important religious buildings where the coronation and burial of British monarchs took place. To protect the calm and serenity of the church, it is not allowed to take photos inside the building. However, visitors are permitted to take photos inside the Cloisters, Chapter House, and College Garden.

West Minster Abbey, no photos inside churchBy lacihobo – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

8. The Eiffel Tower at Night

The Eiffel Tower is considered to be the cultural icon of France and one of the most recognized structures in the world. It is the most visited monument which requires an entrance fee. The structure is open for taking photographs during the daytime for both personal and commercial purposes. But the lighting at the tower was installed by Pierre Bideau in 1985 and has copyright associated with it. So capturing photos at night time might violate the copyright.

The Eiffel Tower, Lighting at night is copyright protected, Places where photography is banned

9. The US Post Office

You might be surprised that the US Post Office is also included in our “No Photos” list. Yes, there are security concerns in the post office also. For this reason, though you might be able to take photos inside the Post Office under certain restrictions. You must have to take permission from the postmaster and can not take any photos that disrupt the employees. You also can not include Postal Service employee, customer, security camera, or cover of mail in your photos. If these things are excluded, there are hardly any things of interest that you can capture in a post office.

The US Post Office- strict regulations for photos

By Keith Snyder – Own work, Wikimedia Commons

10. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century historical palace situated in Bavaria, Germany. It was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and to honor Richard Wagner. The castle was opened for the public shortly after the death of the king in 1886. Since then it is the most visited place in Germany and around the world. However, it could feel shocking that visitors are not allowed to take photos of this amazing palace from the inside. But you can always take clicks from outside the palace.

Neuschwanstein Castle- Historical Palace

11. Valley of The Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a spectacular historical place located on the west bank of the River Nile in Egypt. This is the burial place of the ancient kings of Egypt known as Pharaohs. It is estimated that there are no less than 63 tombs in this area with vividly colored hieroglyphics covering the walls. However, it is quite disappointing that this mausoleum is a no photography zone. If anyone makes a stealthy attempt to capture any photos they will be fined and cameras will be confiscated.

The Valley of the Kings- Tombs of Pharaohs, Places where photography is banned

12. A few temples in Japan

A temple is definitely a place to worship in a quiet environment and feel inner peace. If photography is allowed in temples, there are chances of obstructions in the pathway by the photography equipment, and also there could be unwanted gatherings by the visitors which would spoil the serenity of the holy places. For this exact reason, Genko-an Temple, Jissoin Temple, Daigo-ji Temple, and others have banned photography completely.

Temples in Japan

Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash

13. Restricted Places in the United Arab Emirates

There are certain places in the United Arab Emirates where photography is not allowed such as government buildings, certain bridges, and palaces of the Sheikhs. The palace-related ban is upheld by their legislation. If you are traveling to the UAE, keep in mind these things when you attempt to take any photos.

Any violations might hold you responsible for fines and imprisonment. In the past, there were instances where tourists were arrested for taking photographs of houses and mosques in the capital, Abu Dhabi.

You may also like to readBest Travel Photography Destinations.

UAE- some places not allow taking photos


So we can see that to our disappointment there are certain places around the world where photography is banned. Some of these bans might be more justified than others. But still, photography is one of the coolest arts available there. So it should be encouraged and promoted where possible. We hope our list would be helpful for you as a photographer when traveling around the world.