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Great Manmade Monuments of the World

Prologue

The natural world has some exalted spots such as the Amazon River, Great Salt Lake, Fuji mountains, Grand Canyon, Himalayas and the Niagara Falls, but man has created wonders to match them. Possibly they are even more astounding because they have been executed by the skill and hand labour of mankind.

The ancient Greeks loved to compile lists of the marvellous structures in their world. Though we think of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as a single list today, there were actually a number of lists compiled by different Greek writers. Antipater of Sidon, and Philon of Byzantium, drew up two of the most well-known lists. Many of the lists agreed on six of the seven items.

The final place on some lists was awarded to the Walls of the City of Babylon. On others, the Palace of Cyrus, king of Persia took the seventh position. Finally, toward the 6th century A.D., the final item became the Lighthouse at Alexandria. Since the it was Greeks who made the lists it is not unusual that many of the items on them were examples of Greek culture.

The writers might have listed the Great Wall of China if then had known about it, or Stonehenge if they’d seen it, but these places were beyond the limits of their world. It is a surprise to most people to learn that not all the Seven Wonders existed at the same time. Even if you lived in ancient times you would have still needed a time machine to see all seven.

While the Great Pyramids of Egypt was built centuries before the rest and is still around today (it is the only “wonder” still intact) most of the others only survived a few hundred years or less. The Colossus of Rhodes stood only a little more than half a century before an earthquake toppled it.

We are still bewildered by the scale of many ancients sites which man built but, modern ones too, leave us aphonic.

This blog posts, details of the most exciting and magnificent  manmade wonders in a amalgam of gardens, machines, statues, buildings, telescopes, carvings, industrial structures, even whole cities. Even today with help of ultra modern machinery available it is difficult to conceive man being capable of such achievements.

1. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, a memorable landmark, is the most popular tourist attraction in China. The Wall has fascinated the minds of many in the world and it is part of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Great Wall is the ultimate tourist destination for sightseeing. People from all over the world visit China to see this exotic architecture because it is one of the most appealing attractions of China. It has its share of fans including those who spread speculations about it being seen from the moon.

Looking down at the Great Wall from the sky is truly amazing, the Wall resembles a Chinese dragon circling the mountains. There is a common term use by The Chinese call “Wan Li Chang Cheng” which defines as “Wall of 10,000 Li”  (10,000 Li = 5,000 km). There were three main Chinese dynasties that contributed to the construction of the Great Wall: first, the Qin from 221-207 B.C., then the Han from 206 B.C – 220 A.D and the Ming from 1368-1644 A.D. Their common purpose was to stop the “barbaric” Huns in the North from invading the Chinese borders. Millions of people labored on the Great Wall and many died while working.

After the Qin emperor unified China, he connected the walls across the country into one, The Wall extended up to 10,000 Li (5000 km) and it helps keep out intruders from the north. What seems to be a Chinese zigzag dragon, the Great Wall of China spreads across deserts, rivers, mountains, grasslands and plateaus expanding nearly 6,700 kilometers. It has been built for over 2 millenniums and it stretches from the east side to the west side of China. Due to modern technologies and lack of usefulness, pieces of the structure are left in ruins and the Chinese leaders do not care to fix it. This marvelous segment of Chinese heritage swept through Shanhaiguan Pass, then to Liaoning, then Hebei, continuing onto Tianjin, expanding to Beijing, reaching Shanxi, and into Inner Mongolia, next to Ningxia, arriving at Gansu and finally ends in Jiayuguan Pass. The Great Wall length measures about 6,700 km long. Height wise, it is 4.5m to 9m. Depth wise, it is 4.5m to 8m. The entire structure was built by hand using stone, bricks, soil, sand, straw, wood, clay or whatever was available depending on the territory and time period.

The existing Wall today was constructed by the Ming Dynasty over 600 years ago. During that time, the original wall was in ruins. Ming emperors order to rebuilt the wall over the course of 200 years. The reason the wall still stand today is because there was an invention during that time, mixing rice flour to create extremely tough bricks and mortar. Today, few parts of the Great Wall are in great condition because it was restored to attract tourists.

2. Petra

Petra is a site in the Arabah, Jordan that was discovered by a Swiss explorer called Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812 and is considered to be, yet another splendid beauty in the history of mankind. Arabah is a section of the Great Rift Valley and it is located between the Dead Sea (north) and the Gulf of Aqaba (south) forming part of the border between Jordan (east) and Israel (west).

Petra represents the ancient world’s heritage culture. It is a beauty hidden behind layers of mountain. The ones who have seen it say it is a treasure beyond comparison. It is now said to be one of the seventh wonder of the world and it belongs to the UNESCO world heritage site. The entire red rose city of Petra has such a charismatic appeal that it attracts anyone & everyone who enters the city, taking them to a different world of divine beauty and mystery. Petra mainly is admired because of its picture perfect architecture, its complex structure, quality and the non mentionable mere size.

Petra is said to have its origin before 106 AD; its culture is said to have been flourished in almost 400 years old. The one’s who visited it say that it is a site that can never be forgotten. The city of Petra takes its name, which is the Greek word for “rock”, from the fact that it is most notable for its buildings and tombs that are carved directly into the red sandstone that serves as the city’s natural protection from invaders. Its popularity with tourists may also have a connection to the city’s Biblical significance. It is here where King Aretas called for the arrest of the Apostle Paul at the time of his conversion.

This historical fortress is located 170 miles southwest of Amman, Jordan on the edges of the Wadi Araba desert. It is also 50 miles south of the Dead Sea and the only way to enter the city is through a narrow crevice called the Siq. One has to uncover a very narrow path of mountains, kilometer by kilometer before they get to see the majestic beauty of Petra. This path is only about five meters wide, with sandstone walls towering up hundreds of meters high on both sides. This long, narrow and not very well lighted gorge is very cool & soothes the visitors before it unfolds the mystery step by step.

3. Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a tomb situated in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of The Seven Wonders of the World and is said to be one of the finest art of the Mughal architecture. The architecture has a mixture of Persian, Ottoman, India and Islamic art. During the year 1983, the Taj became a part of the UNESCO, World heritage Site.

Some of the legendary stories say that after the Taj was built, the Mughal Emperor cut off the hands of all the men who built the Taj so that the same masterpiece could not be made again. The Taj Mahal is located on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra. It was built in the year 1631 and got completed in the year 1653 spreading over 32 acres of land.

The Taj Mahal is also called the Taj and is a symbol of love and is known for its monumental beauty. Taj is one of the main tourist’s hotspot in India and anyone who comes to visit India definitely takes a tour of the Taj. The beauty of the Taj goes beyond words and it is said that the place looks magnificent during the full moon night. It is a true dedication to love and romance. The word Taj Mahal means Crown Palace in English and it is made up off mainly white marbles and some colourful gemstones.

4. Chichen Itza

Chichen was founded by the Maya civilization in 400 AD and it is located in the north central, north of Yucatan Peninsula now called Mexico. Chichen has a history that is 1500 years old and is located 75 miles from Merida. It is said to have been the main regional point for different ceremonies. During the earlier days & time, it was governed by priests. Chichen means “At the mouth of the well of Itza”. The word Chi stands for ‘mouth’, Chen for ‘well’ and Itza for ‘the Itza tribe’. The main belief is that people were thrown from the top as a sacrifice to make their god happy and the ones who could survive were the ones who were believed to be seers.

The site predominantly contains many buildings of stone in various stages of their preservation and has been stored properly. The site is built in different architectural styles. It has a very clear cultural mix and difference of the Mayan and non Mayan civilization. The Chichen site has in total three divisions: the north, central & and the south group. Where one group is in the Toltec style and the other gives an idea about the early period and the old Chichen culture. Since this is the most famous Mayan Pyramids, it has been thoroughly researched by private agencies. Not really.

It is now a federal property and it is maintained by the Mexico’s nation Institute of Anthropology and History. The best time for site seeing is either early morning or late in the afternoon.

5. Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the greatest architecture ever built in the history of Rome. The Colosseum was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and is the largest amphitheater to have ever been built in the Roman Empire. It is a circular structure that occupies a site east of the Roman Forum. This Amphitheater was built to organize gladiator contests, dramas and games like hunting animals, constructing mock sea battle and the public could also view it in the open, and cheer their favourites.

Built in the center of Rome itself, its construction began sometime between 70 and 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD when Titus was the ruling emperor. It has a seating capacity of 50,000 spectators. The Colosseum over the years has been broken by natural disasters like earthquake; even then, it is one of the hot spot of tourist visits in Rome. Very near to the Colosseum is the training school for the gladiators and it is worth the look. As compared to the oval shape of the Colosseum, it is triangular in shape. Other areas of attraction are places where the armour was built, then where the wounded gladiators were cured and not to forget the burial ground where the dead gladiators rested in peace.

Today, the Colosseum is used for religious purposes. The Pope leads a procession on good Fridays called the station of the cross. Currently, the Amphitheater is very rich in Flora. There are more then hundreds of different kinds of Flora present on the ancient walls of the Colosseum. The Colosseum of Rome has been given great importance by the media and that is the reason why a lot of Hollywood movies have been shot in this amphitheater. The famous movie “Gladiator” is highly influenced by the Roman culture and the gladiator contests.

6. Christ The Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The statue is 120 ft tall and has a weight of 635 tones. It is now a part of the new Seven Wonders of the World. It is located in the Corcovado Mountain which is at a peak of 700 meters i.e. 2,300 feet in the Tujuca forest National Park overlooking the city. The statue is made of concrete and soapstone. As a symbol of Christianity, it has become an important icon of Brazil, with Jesus Christ appearing to open his arms wide to embrace the entire city below.

It was in 1850’s when for the first time it was suggested to make the statue of Christ on the top of Carcovado by a catholic priest called Pedro Maria Boss. The request of the finance was sent to Princess Isabel to build this huge religious mountain. Initially, the idea was not thought to be a very good one. It was only in 1921, when a need and a proposal of a large landmark were thought about and finally the statue was made by the catholic Circle of Rio.

During this time, in order to gain more publicity, a group organized an event for a week where donations were taken from the public and signatures were taken for those who were in favour of the making of the statue. Most of the donations came from the Brazilian Catholics. A lot of suggestions were given; some suggest that the cross of the Christ should be represented along with Christ, or an idol of Jesus with a globe in his hands. But finally, a statue of Jesus with open arms was chosen. Construction of this religious symbol took nine years to complete, beginning in 1922 and ending in 1931. The brilliance of its engineers was revealed when it was struck by lightning in February of 2008 during an electrical storm. Several trees were felled by that storm, but the statue was left unscathed, owing to the fact that it was made with a top layer of soapstone, which is a good insulator.

7. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the pre Columbian, Inca empire site that is located almost 8,000 feet above the sea level. The site is located on a mountain ridge above the valley of Urubamba in Peru. The city is also called the “lost city of Incas”. When tourists make a list of the best world tour destination, Machu Picchu is the site that undoubtedly gets the maximum number of votes.

It is said that the journey to this spot is a dream journey, which one must never miss. It is a journey to the top archeological site on the planet earth. Data says that the Machu Picchu Tourism is one of the proudest industries in the country. Whatever your expectation out of the place would be, you will really be more than delighted to see the picturesque beauty of the place and the intoxicating power that it will have on you.

Machu Picchu was built in 146 AD, however, it was left by the Inca rulers 100 years later. Legendary stories suggest that the place was neglected for quite some time. In the year 1911, Hiram Bingham, who was an American historian, got the world’s attention to it and then there was no looking back. Recent discoveries also show that the site was dug many years ago by a German businessman. The site became a part of the UNESCO, world heritage site in 1983. The site as built in typical Inca style with dry stone polished walls and it most famous buildings are ‘the temple of sun’ and ‘the room of three windows’.

8. Angkor Wat Temple

Built from 802 to 1220 AD by the Khmer civilization, the temples at Angkor represent one of the most enduring and astonishing architectural achievements of humankind. The more than 100 stone structures that we see today are the surviving remnants of a grand administrative, religious, and social metropolis. The other buildings (public buildings, palaces, homes, etc.) were actually built from wood and do not exist anymore.

Conventional theories assume that the land where Angkor is located was chosen as the settlement spot due to its strategic position for military purposes, as well as its agricultural potential. However, other scholars think that the location and the arrangement of Angkor were based on planet-spanning sacred land from archaic periods.

Angkor Wat was built early in 1100s by Suryavarman over an estimated 30 years and honours Vishnu, the Hindu god. The ruins are a symbolic structure of Hindu cosmology. This is actually the biggest monument in the group, as well as the best preserved. The wonder is located about 4 miles to the north of Siem Reap and south of Angkor Thom, and Angkor Wat is only accessible from its gate to the west.

Angkor Wat consists of a huge temple that symbolizes Mt. Meru, a mythic mountain, and its 5 walls and moats are a representation of mountainous chains, as well as the cosmic ocean. This temple was a funerary temple built for King Suryavarman II. The vast compound’s short dimensions are aligned precisely along the north-south axis, and the east to west axis was diverted deliberately 0.75° to give its observers an anticipation of the equinox in spring for 3 days.

 

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