The tallest building in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The building is 829 meters (2,722 feet) tall and got the title Tallest Building in the World on its official opening January 4, 2010. In order to be considered for the tallest building at least half of the floors must be habitable space. If buildings don’t meet that criteria they are called towers, such as the CN Tower in Toronto or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Burj Khalifa won’t hold its title for long. According to the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the completion of the Kingdom Tower is set for 2018. The Kingdom Tower will reach over 1,000 plus meters and be the first building to reach a kilometer high. Architects from the beginning of time have always been striving for bigger and better creations and evidence of that is all over the world with beautifully crafted ancient landmarks.
The original Seven Wonders of the World was created by the Ancient Greeks during the Hellenic period. Tourists were inspired by the different constructions of other civilizations and cultures and documented them and printed them in guidebooks for other travelers. The wonders were referred to as sites or ‘theamata’ instead of wonders and often were printed with seven listings. Different versions of the list existed and have changed many times until the modern day version. Only a single wonder from the first list exists today, and the Pyramids of Giza are largely still intact. Most of the original seven were destroyed by earthquakes, pillaged or taken down by their own people. They only included sites in the European and Middle Eastern Region which made up the world known to the Greeks at that time.
10. The Acropolis, Parthenon: Greece
No visit to Athens, Greece is complete without a trip to the Acropolis, at the very top of the Parthenon. The construction of the Parthenon began in 447 BC which replaced an older temple the Persians destroyed in 432 BC. Its purpose was to house the statue of Athena Parthenos which was made of silver, ivory and gold. In the 5th century, a Roman emperor looted the statue, which was taken to Constantinople and destroyed. The Parthenon has had multiple uses since its construction. Its been a fortress, mosque, church and a powder magazine.
9. The Moai: Easter Island
Easter Island is one of the world’s most isolated islands and it is home to the world famous moai statues. The statues were carved between 1250 AD and 1500 AD by Polynesian population on the island. The moai both represented the dead and were the living embodiments of former chiefs. The tallest statue is named Paro and was almost 10 meters high and weighs 75 tonnes. When Europeans first arrived on Easter island the moai were still standing but would be later cast down because of rivals between clans. About 50 of these famous structures have been replaced on the island and some exist in museums around the world.
8. Taj Mahal: India
The Taj Mahal is a giant mausoleum made of white marble by the order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife. The structure is one of the biggest and most well preserved tombs in the world and is one of the greatest masterpieces of Mughal architecture. The Taj Mahal is actually a network of various beautiful buildings as well as extensive gardens with reflecting pools, bushes and flowering trees. The site took 21 years to complete starting in 1632, employing thousands of artisans and craftsman. It was declared a world heritage site in 1983 and is an excellent example of Mughal culture.
7. Colosseum: Italy
The Colosseum is one of the most famous ancient amphitheaters in the world built by the Roman Empire. The construction started by emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and was completed by his son in 80 AD. When the Colosseum was completed, opening ceremonies took place for 100 days in a spectacle where 5,000 animals and 2000 gladiators were killed. The building can hold 50,000 people and has 80 entrances. Visitors were protected by the sun and rain by sails at the top of the attic called the Velarium and was an early version of modern day stadiums.
6. Angkor: Cambodia
Angkor Wat is the world’s largest single religious monument and is part of the large system of buildings from the Khmer Empire in the 9th to 15th century AD. The Bayon Temple at Angkor is another famous temple made from massive stone faces. The temples at Angkor switched religions from Hinduism to Buddhism several times. Angkor is the biggest source for tourists in Cambodia and appears on their national flag.
5. Teotihuacan: Mexico
Teotihuacan is a new civilization that appeared in Mexico late in the 2nd century BC. It is known for its huge step pyramids. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest and reaches 75 meters high (246 feet). There is also a smaller Pyramid of the Moon built a century later, completed in 450 AD. Seven centuries after the demise of Teotihuacan empire the step pyramids were admired and used by the Aztecs. Teotihuacan is also significant for its well preserved murals, and the Avenue of the Dead. The city reached a population of at least 125,000, making it a least the sixth largest city in the world during its existence.
4. Petra: Jordan
Petra is known as ‘the rose red city, half as old as time.’ It is Jordan’s largest tourist attraction and one of the gems of ancient culture. It was the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom and is carved into the side of a canyon in a unique fashion. The spot was important for a silk and spice trade route linking China, India and Southern Arabia with Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The Al Khazneh, translated to mean the treasury, is the most complex building of Petra. It was carefully carved into sandstone rock towing in size compared to everything surrounding it.
3. Machu Picchu: Peru
Machu Picchu wasn’t discovered until 1911 by Hawaiian historian Hiram. It lay hidden for centuries in the Urubamba Valley. Machu Picchu is completely invisible from below, and the people who once lived there were completely self sufficient from the natural Springs that flowed through the city and the vast areas of agricultural growth. Before its discovery in 1911, it was known by the locals. The Incas built it in 1450, but was abandoned a century later because of the Spanish Conquest. The city is on a mountain 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. That’s nearly three times the height of the world’s tallest skyscraper.
2. The Great Wall of China: China
The Great Wall of China was originally built in 5th century BC to protect the northern borders of the country from attacks by the Xiongnu Tribes. The Great Wall has been built and rebuilt several times and portions of it are different walls. The most famous was built by the first emperor of China between 220 and 206 BC but very little of that wall still remains. The portion of The Great Wall that exists today was mostly built during the Ming Dynasty. The total length of the wall and all of its branches reaches 8851.1 km or 5,500.3 miles.
1. Pyramids of Giza: Egypt
The Giza Necropolis is located in the southwestern part of Cairo and is the most famous ancient landmark in the world and the only remaining wonder of the original seven wonders of the Ancient World as named 2,000 years ago. The Pyramid was built over the lifespan of three generations but began with the famous Egyptian Pharaoh, Khufu. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest of the group and took over 2 million blocks of stone to complete, which were carved out during a 20 year period. It is an incredible 139 meters (455 feet) high making it the largest Pyramid in Egypt. The nearby Khafre Pyramid appears to be higher but is built on higher elevation.