Reading » B2 Reading Tests » The most unusual tourist attractions – B2 English reading test
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  • B2 Reading Test

    You are going to read a text about six very unusual tourist attractions. For questions 1-6, choose the correct answer.

    The most unusual tourist attractions

    A. Island of Dolls, Mexico

    Deep in the verdant waterways of Xochimilco near Mexico City lies a small island with a history that chills to the bone. The Island of Dolls is a place where countless dolls, in varying states of decay, hang ominously from trees. These dolls, weathered by the elements, are said to be an offering by a grieving caretaker to soothe the restless spirit of a young girl who drowned in the canal nearby. Visitors describe an intense atmosphere, where the silence is broken only by the whispering leaves and the unblinking gazes of plastic figures. It’s an attraction that blends folklore, sadness, and the supernatural.

    B. Temple of Rats, Deshnok, India

    At the Karni Mata Temple in the small town of Deshnok, Rajasthan, thousands of rats scurry underfoot, revered as sacred. Locals and travellers alike tread carefully so as not to disturb these holy creatures, believed to be the reincarnated kin of the goddess Karni Mata. The air is filled with the musky scent of incense and the quiet chitter of rodents. Offerings of milk and grain are left for them, and it’s considered particularly auspicious to spot the rare white rat among the throng.

    C. The Gum Wall, Seattle

    Adjacent to the box office for Seattle’s Market Theater, this colourful wall covered with used chewing gum is a quirky testament to spontaneous urban art. Starting in the early 1990s as a peculiar habit by theatregoers, it has transformed into a picturesque collage. Despite several cleanings of the walls, the gum-sticking prevailed, and the authorities eventually reversed course and embraced the eccentric tradition.

    D. Baldwin Street, Dunedin, New Zealand

    Dunedin’s claim to fame is Baldwin Street, recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s steepest street. Visitors huff up the 35% grade slope, where the footpath is practically vertical, and houses sit at gravity-defying angles. This quirky urban wonder is a hub for novelty events, including the annual Jaffa Race, where thousands of spherical candies roll down to the amusement of spectators, turning this steep street into a spectacle of community and celebration.

    E. California’s Life-Sized Dinosaurs

    Driving through the arid landscape of Cabazon, California, travellers are greeted by the sight of enormous prehistoric beasts. These life-sized concrete dinosaurs, remnants of a prehistoric-themed park, loom large against the desert sky. Visitors can clamber up the stairs into the belly of ‘Dinny the Dinosaur’ for a whimsical view or browse the accompanying gift shop nestled within ‘Mr. Rex.’ It’s a playful homage to the giants of the past, attracting those with a taste for kitsch and nostalgia.

    F. Catacombs, France

    Major public health problems led the Parisians in the late 18th century to evacuate the bones from their largest cemetery, the Saints-Innocents, which had accumulated over approximately 1,000 years. Today, twenty meters beneath the bustling and romantic streets of Paris, the Catacombs represent a dark and introspective journey into the city’s history. This subterranean maze of tunnels is a stark reminder of the finite nature of life, where the bones of over six million people are meticulously arranged, creating a silent and sombre tableau. Visitors descend into this realm of darkness, walking through corridors lined with the remains of past Parisians, a poignant and reflective experience that’s as humbling as it is macabre.

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    Page 1 of 8

    1 Which place might you stumble across on your way to see a performance?


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