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The Great Wall of China
Also known as the ‘Long Wall of 10,000 Li,’ the Great Wall of China was built between 250 BC and 1450 AD as protection against invading Mongolian forces and other nomadic groups. This is the most recognized structure in China as its stone walls span over 3,889.5 miles and besides being the longest structure ever built it has also claimed the most lives during its construction.
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The oldest and largest of the three pyramids in Giza, this is the most notable as the Home of the Sphinx. It was made from 2.3 million limestone blocks, which were sourced and lifted by human hands from over 500 miles away and like the Great Wall it claimed countless human lives. It was constructed over a 20-year period and was completed in 2560 BC.
Located in Rome, Italy, the Colosseum was built between 70 and 80 AD on the outskirts of the Roman Forum as the flagship site of the Roman Empire. Having a seating capacity of 50,000 spectators, it was initially used as an amphitheater for holding gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles. It remained in used for nearly 500 years and has an entire underground maze of corridors that rivaled the complexity of its exterior. Nowadays, you can only see the surviving façade of its outer wall, which has withstood countless fires, earthquakes, and invasions.
The Taj Mahal
Built by the Fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, as a tribute to his third wife, the Taj Mahal was constructed with a workforce of 20,000 laborers for a time period of 22 years. It was also accomplished using 1,000 load-bearing elephants and teams of 30 oxen to transport marble and other materials up a specially constructed 9.3-mile ramp leading to the construction site. Its walls and domes were covered in precious stones and gems but this was all plundered during the successive wars. Legend has it that Shah Jahan ordered to cut off the hands of the craftsmen and architects so that they would not be able to build another grand monument like the Taj Mahal.
The Hagia Sophia
The Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world before the construction of the Medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520 in Istanbul, Turkey. This monument is considered to be the embodiment of Byzantine architecture because of its massive dome. It was completed in 360 AD under the instruction of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. It was an ex-patriarchal basilica and mosque that now serves as a museum and is generally acknowledged as one of the great buildings of the world due to the unique characteristics of its design.