Most of us know that Stonehenge is a mysterious, ancient burial ground and that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the USA … but what don’t you know about the world’s greatest landmarks?
Far more than just a collection of very large old rocks constructed between 2400 and 2200 B.C., Stonehenge is a remarkably precise feat of engineering. The placement of each stone follows a virtually flawless geometric design, which traces the movement of the moon and sun.
It may be a popular tourist attraction today and a famous UNESCO World Heritage site, but Angkor Wat has long had significance for the Cambodians. In the 12th Century, it was the largest religious building in the world and it also features on Cambodia’s current flag.
This world famous landmark has eroded considerably over the years, so much so that its beard actually fell off! That’s right, the Sphinx once had a beard and pieces of it are now housed in both the Cairo and British Museums.
One of Australia’s most famous landmarks, the Twelve Apostles were formally known by the far less attractive name of ‘The Sow and Piglets.’ The renaming proved to be a masterstroke, since these spectacular rock formations have become a major tourist attraction and are now uniquely known as the ‘Twelve Apostles.’
Well known for its pronounced ‘lean’, it was the tower’s beauty that saved it from destruction during WW2. When it was discovered that Nazi soldiers were using the tower as an observation point, allied forces decided to bomb it; however, the Sergeant responsible for calling in the strike refused to do so as he deemed the landmark too beautiful to destroy.
While the Great Wall of China is undoubtedly one of the most impressive structures ever built, it came at a huge human cost. It is estimated that a staggering 1 million people died during its construction.
Well known as a symbol of love and romance, the Taj Mahal actually includes a not so subtle sexist touch. While almost everything in this gorgeous building is perfectly symmetrical, when it came to the male and female tombs, the male tomb was made considerably larger.
Unlike most modern day mega projects, the money for building this breathtaking statue came from a huge fundraising effort. The vast majority of the bill was covered by donations from working class French and American citizens, with the average contribution being less than $1.
This ancient complex is far more than just an interesting Inca relic; it was one of the world’s first earthquake proof structures. Built on top of 2 major fault lines, Machu Picchu was carefully constructed by cutting stone blocks to fit together without the use of mortar, allowing the walls to move around during an earthquake without cracking and falling.
While it is hard to imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower, it was originally built as only a temporary structure for the 1889 World’s Fair. Just before the tower was due to be dismantled, Gustave Eiffel had a huge radio antennae installed on top; this transformed the tower into a vital communications device and saved it from destruction.
Photo credits: Hao Wei, Simon Wakefield, Sam Garza, jma659, Natalie Tapson, Candida.Performa, Peter Dowley, fallenZeraphine, swaal, Fabricio Guzmán, Alberto Otero García