Since the dawn of time itself, mankind has been building structures of significance that have come to be the envy of the world. Whether it be as a dedication or an embodiment of ancient gods or just to embolden empirical dominance, humans have had an unerring passion for centuries to build the most imposing and impressive buildings, statues, and megaliths.
For example, widely regarded as being the world’s oldest known temple, Göbeklitepe (sometimes written Göbekli Tepe) in eastern Turkey still mystifies historians as to its purpose. Göbeklitepe predates Stonehenge by some 6,000 years yet, despite considerable excavation at the site, archaeologists are still unsure as to its exact purpose (many think it was likely used for sacrifices or rituals).
One fact is certain though; to these ancient settlers, the site was of massive significance and took considerable effort to build—and while the reasons for architecture may have changed over the years, this ancient tradition of building impressive structures continues even to this day.
Architectural endeavor—a case of taste as much as anything else
There’s little doubt that each and every one of us has our own preference in terms of architectural styles. Just like art, writing, or film, we all have preferences on what works best for us. However, over the last century or so, there have been some definite stand-out constructions. Here are just a few:
The Eiffel Tower, Paris: Perhaps one of the most iconic (if not the most iconic) structures in the world is Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Standing at 324 meters in height, La Torre Eiffel (locally and affectionately known as “La Dame de Fer” or Iron Lady), was once the tallest man-made structure in the world. Today, the Eiffel Tower remains one of the world’s most-visited attractions with its trademark elevator system inside. Just be sure to visit on a day when they’re not doing elevator inspections—otherwise it’s a long walk up!
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona: Antoni Guadí’s legendary masterpiece may remain unfinished, but just a couple of hours at this building will kind of explain why. A stunning example of art nouveau and Gothic design, La Sagrada is another of the world’s most recognizable and most-visited structures.
The Taj Mahal, Agra: This beautiful building took 20 years to complete and now ranks in the seven modern wonders of the world. India’s importance globally has grown substantially over recent years (being part of the BRIC group that has come to such prominence) but, nonetheless, this impressive work of Mughal architecture still remains its jewel in the crown.
The Colosseum, Rome: Still standing since around 80 A.D. Rome’s Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in existence, covering around two hectares. Another of the seven modern wonders, the Colosseum attracts around four million visitors per year.
The Parthenon, Athens: The imposing sight of the Parthenon (particularly floodlit at night), towering over the city of Athens far below gives a slight insight into the importance of this building in days of old. Built as a dedication to the Greek god, Athena, the Parthenon remains an enduring symbol of Greece even in the modern day and is often cited as being the best example of Doric architecture anywhere in the world (a style that would go on to be copied globally).
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