A structure that has significant historical, architectural, or cultural meaning and that has been given legal protection from alteration and destruction. Although landmark preservation laws vary by city and state, they have the same basic purpose: to keep landmarks as close to their original condition as possible. As a legal specialty, landmark and preservation law has developed as the number of designated landmarks has grown in the United States. Landmarks are often buildings such as hotels, homes, skyscrapers, theaters, museums, stores, libraries, churches, and synagogues. Other structures, such as bridges, and even natural points of interest, such as trees, can also be designated as landmarks if they have special historical, architectural, or cultural significance.