Around the world there are many famous and amazing monuments, structures and buildings. Many of these structures have withstood the test of time and have endured from as far back as ancient times. These are often open to tourists who will appreciate the skill of these early architects and engineers. Other, newer buildings, are also appreciated for their design and engineering. From the United States to Asia, travelers and people who are curious about history can appreciate these works of artistic design and ingenuity.
Prehistorical and Ancient
Stonehenge is a prehistoric circular monument that is believed to date between 3100 and 2000 B.C. The structure is located in England. There are many speculations as to why the monument was built. Some feel that it was a place of worship, while others feel that it was used to predict solar and lunar eclipses.
The Colosseum was originally named the Flavian Amphitheater. It was given this name for the Emperors of the Flavian dynasty. It was first opened to the public in A.D. 80 with the intent of calming the unrest of the unemployed and to make the Flavian dynasty more popular. It was also a way of showcasing the Roman’s superior engineering abilities and Roman power. It is six acres in area and could hold approximately 50,000 Roman spectators. It was used for gladiator fights, theatrical performances, executions, religious plays, and animal displays.
Newgrange is a circular tomb of stone and earth that has a diameter of approximately 250 feet. It is estimated that it was built in 3200 B.C. Inside of the tomb there is a single passage that ends in a main chamber and three chambers that are recessed. An opening, or roof box, at the entrance allows sunlight to enter the passage on the morning of December 21, which is the winter solstice. The sun enters the passage at sunrise.
The Great Sphinx is located on the Nile River at the West Bank. It is believed that it was created around 2500 B.C. The Sphinx, which is a lion with the head of a human, was made from a single large piece of lime. It is believed that it was built by Djed-ef-re, the Fourth Dynasty ruler, and it stands 66 feet high and 240 feet long. In 1998 restoration of the structure was completed, having taken ten years with a cost of $2.5 million.
Notre-Dame de Paris began construction in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. It was the first monumental cathedral built in France and was given a gothic style. It is 420 feet and has two towers that are 226 feet. The cathedrals spire was not a part of the original design and was added in the 19th century. The Gallery of Kings, which are statues that depict 28 Judean Kings, is located on the frontal west facade. Gargoyles are located higher up, above the statues. The cathedral was severally damaged during the Revolution but was restored in the 19th century.
The Vatican is the home of the official residence of the Pope, the Vatican Palace, and is referred to as the “seat” of the Roman Catholic church. It is an independent nation that is a collection of buildings and is known as Vatican City. It includes St. Peters Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums and Galleries.
The Eiffel Tower was created by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel between 1887 and 1889 using 9441 tons of steel. Its creation was in celebration of the end of the French Revolution. The finished tower is 984 feet tall. The tower was turned into a radio transmitter and has an antenna at the top. An elevator has also been added as well as restaurants on the first two floors.
Westminster Abbey was constructed from 1050 to 1065 to complete. Since 1066 it has been the coronation church, with the exception of Edward V and Edward VIII. At the heart of the current church, which began in 1245, is the shrine of a St. Edward the Confessor. Many major figures from England’s history are buried at Westminster Abbey.
Asia, Africa, and South America
The Great Wall of China was first started between 214 and 220 B.C. in efforts to create a defense system against the north. Construction started with Qinshi Huang, and was continued from 1368 to 1644 by the Ming Dynasty. It has historically been the world’s largest military structure. The wall is 1400 miles in length.
The Citadel is located near the center of Cairo and was built between 1176 and 1183. It was built as a Muslim fortress to protect the city and was founded by Saladin. It is currently the most visited monument in Egypt.
The Taj Mahal was built as a tomb for the wife of the emperor Shah Jahan in India. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful structures in the world. The domed mausoleum is made of marble and was built between 1632 and 1650. The Taj Mahal has a silver appearance when seen under moonlight and at dawn it appears pink.
Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains in Peru. It is believed that it was built sometime in the middle of the 15th century. It is an Inca fortress that had a population of between 300 to 1,000. It is located between two peaks on a mountain ridge. It has withstood landslides and settlements and is in good condition. It is believed to be due, in part to the drainage systems that the Incas built.
Mount Rushmore is a sculpture of the heads of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. It is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was sculpted by artist and sculptor Gutzon Borglum. The creation began in 1927 using dynamite to carve the granite. Unfortunately, Borglum died before completing the work, however his son finished the final sculpture in 1941, the same year that his father died.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the American people from France. It was presented and accepted by President Grover Cleveland in 1886. The statue is located on Liberty Island in New York. It is 152 feet tall and is made of 31 tons of copper and stands on a pedestal that is 150 feet tall.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a bridge that connects San Francisco and the Marin County. The building of the bridge took four years, starting in 1933 and ending in 1937. The bridge is 4200 feet and was designed by Joseph B. Strauss. It is named for the area where the San Francisco Bay enters from the Pacific Ocean, which is called the Golden Gate Strait.
The Chrysler Building is an art deco building that was built as a headquarters for Chrysler in New York and was built from 1928 to 1930. Many of the design elements of the building were inspired by automobiles of the time. The steel building stands at 1046 feet and was once the world’s tallest building. The architect for the building was William Van Alen.