More than its beautiful beaches, cultural diversity and impeccable food, Europe is notorious for its exquisite structures and historical monuments. It is not only cities such as Athens and Rome that commemorate these astounding works, but several others listed below, that hide ancient treasures and wonders, thousands of years old. Having survived a variety of natural disasters, human combat, and centuries of time, the structures below signify not only the most important historical monuments, but also the most expensive in existence today.
There is one monument however, not located in Europe and therefore not included in our top 10 list, but well worthy of an honorable mention. Located on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., The White House is a six story home built between 1792 and 1800 by Irish architect James Hoban and has served as the official home and workplace for American Presidents since 1800. The home has an estimated value of $101 Billion.
10. Stonehenge, England: $13 Billion
Considered one of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge, is a pre-historic monument in Wilshire England, and signifies the remains of a ring of ‘standing stones.’ Stonehenge stands within the most multifaceted “Neolithic monuments England” (Neolithic refers to the New Stone Age from 10,200 BC- 4500-2500 B.C.). It is believed (via archaeological studies) that Stonehenge was built somewhere between 3000 B.C. and 2000 B.C.
9. The Prado Museum, Madrid: $73 Billion
The capital and largest city of Spain, Madrid, is also the cultural axis of the country, as well as the home of the Spanish monarchy. The metropolitan city features several historical landmarks, and national museums including the foremost national museum of art, The Prado Museum. Established in 1819, the Prado Museum in Madrid is considered a historical site, and features one of the world’s optimum collections of European art dating back to the 12th century. Aside from historic documents, the museum showcases thousands of paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings, and is ranked first in the country, and 11th internationally. With over 2 million annual visitors, the Prado Museum is valued at a whopping $73 billion.
8. The Tower of London: $89 Billion
One of the biggest attractions of London, England is the countless historical and royal memorabilia. Amongst the notable attractions are remarkable castles and palaces, including The Tower of London. Also known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, The Tower of London is located in central London, and known for its great conservation. Founded by William the Conqueror towards the end of 1066, The Tower of London is not only one of London’s most amazing fortresses, but also, one of the world’s most impressive. The monument’s website depicts the castle’s historical timeline, from a royal palace, to a fortress, prison and much more, the castle has been at the forefront of the country’s most elaborate history.
7. The Duomo Cathedral, Milan: $103 Billion
A major world fashion capital, Milan, Italy is renowned for its style, food, and beautiful people. However, the city is also one of antiquity, with a unique history and ancient landmarks to match; one of the most notable is the Duomo Cathedral. Known simply as “Duomo”, the cathedral is in fact considered the most famous landmark in Milan. The cathedral is considered Gothic, referring to the style of architecture in which it reflects; a style which thrived during the medieval period. The Duomo is the largest cathedral in Italy and the fifth largest in the world, and took almost six centuries to be built.
6. The Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona: $112 Billion
Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, The Sagrada Familia Cathedral is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain. Although the construction of the church began in 1882, Gaudi took over the project in 1883, adding “Gothic and Art Nouveau art forms.” Unfortunately he never completed the project before he died, and in fact the cathedral remains incomplete today. Construction was resumed several times on the cathedral, with the latest completion date projected as 2026, exactly 100 years after Antoni Gaudi’s death.
5. Rome’s Colosseum: $114 Billion
As the world’ largest amphitheatre, the Rome Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Rome, yielding an estimated capacity of 50-80,000 people. The Colosseum is located in the centre of Rome and also referred to as the Flavian Amphitheatre (referring to the Flavian Dynasty). Since conception (construction commenced in 70 A.D. and seized in 80 A.D.) the stadium has been used for a variety of events including gladiator contests, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramatic interpretations of mythological stories. Regardless of its damaged appearance due to earthquakes and “stone thieves” the Colosseum remains one of Rome’s main tourist attractions.
4. Eiffel Tower, Paris: $344 Billion
It is known as the ‘city of lights’, the city for lovers, and the city that boasts the world’s most valuable historical monument, Paris, France. Located on the champs de Mars, the Eiffel Tower was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel and completed in 1889. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, the Eiffel Tower is the “most-visited paid” monument in the world. Various statistics state the tower had received 250 million visitors as of 2010. The Tower is the tallest monument in Europe and features both stairs and a lift allowing visitors access to the three levels. The first two levels feature restaurants, while the third floor features an observatory.
3. Leaning Tower of Pisa: Undisclosed
Renowned for its tilting one side, the Tower of Pisa in Pisa, Italy, was constructed between 1173-1372, occurring in three stages over 199 years. Evidently the tower had begun tilting during the construction period, and reports claim that the tower’s tilt was due to an “inadequate foundation.” While the tower stands over 180 feet tall, and features 8 floors, there are conflicting reports as to the original Italian architect. As the tower is an important monument for the coastal Italian city, the government requested the ‘tilt’ remain while the tower underwent construction. The leaning tower receives over a million tourists annually.
2. The Parthenon, Athens: Undetermined
The Parthenon is the most famous of the ancient ruins and buildings located on the grounds of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. In 2007, the Acropolis was declared a the finest monument on the “European Cultural Heritage list of Monuments.” Construction of the Parthenon took place from 447 BC to 438 BC and dedicated to Goddess Athena. The Parthenon is symbolic of Ancient Greece, democracy, and also considered “one of the world’s greatest monuments.” It is reported that the temple was built as refuge for the statue of Athens, which was made of gold and ivory. Although the value of the Parthenon is not publicly disclosed, its impact not only historically, but culturally, and architecturally is demonstrated throughout Western civilization, and no historical list would be complete without it.
1. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul: Priceless
In 2011, Hagia Sophia was included as one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Named after the saint of wisdom (Greek Orthodox), the archeological beauty was constructed in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 537 as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral, and served as such until 1453 and Mehmed II’s conquest of Constantinople, when the church was turned into a mosque. While the complicated structure had several structural issues after being built, it has sustained earthquakes and other vigor throughout the centuries, and today the main structure is practically the same composition as that originally built. Today Hagia Sophia is a museum, and open to visitors worldwide since the Turkish government had it secularized in 1934. Hagia Sophia is considered one of the greatest existing examples of Byzantine architecture.