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Originally, a landmark literally meant a geographic feature used by explorers and others to find their way back or through an area.

In modern usage, a landmark includes anything that is easily recognizable, such as a monument, building, or other structure. In American English it is the main term used to designate places that might be of interest to tourists due to notable physical features or historical significance. Landmarks in the British English sense are often used for casual navigation, such as giving directions. This is done in American English as well.

A variant is a seamark or daymark, a structure usually built intentionally to aid sailors navigating featureless coasts. An example is the tower at Walton-on-the-Nazemarker in England.

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