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World's Ugliest Airports

El Paso, Texas

Jim Frazier

El Paso International Airport, El Paso, TX

You are unlikely to mistake El Paso International for any other airport on the planet. Arguably that’s a good thing. The terminal is an apparent attempt to blend regional style—southwestern adobe, more or less—with...something harder to identify. (That domelike copper roof belongs where, exactly: on an old train station? a Greek Orthodox church? in Paris?) Inside, fast-food outlets and ticket counters are dressed up in southwestern drag. But the pièce de résistance lies at the airport entrance. Dedicated in 2007 and purportedly the world’s largest bronze equestrian statue (36 feet tall), it depicts Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, who reputedly gave El Paso its name, on a rearing horse. However, de Oñate’s special talent was massacring Indians, notably some 800 residents of the Acoma Mesa, and is, as a result, politically troublesome, so the statue is now simply called “The Equestrian.”

The Upside: It’s unique.


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