India has the Taj Mahal, Miami  has the Coral Castle (28655 S. Dixie Hwy., Homestead, 305/248-6345, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $7.75 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children). Built as an homage to a lost love, this highly unique architectural oddity is probably one of my favorite places in all of Miami, although I write that understanding that not everyone may appreciate the bizarre romantic beauty of the place.
Although Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin didn’t have the armies of laborers and acres of marble that Shah Jahan was able to utilize in the construction of the Taj Mahal, the lovelorn creator of the Coral Castle did have access to 1,100 tons of coral and a friend with a tractor.
Somehow, the tubercular, five-foot, 100-pound Leedskalnin managed to construct this enormous assemblage of coral-stone buildings and sculptures all by himself, often in the middle of the night, and the final product is remarkable indeed. As the carving at the entrance gate proclaims, “You will be seeing unusual accomplishment.”