After becoming self-aware(one able to separate itself as an individual from the environment), the humankind has been able to achieve great feats. Along the way it fought battles, started and felled empires and invented till their hearts were contended.
During all these activities to commemorate leaders and boast our intellect, humans made monuments and created cities which were the envy of the ancient world.
Now, the time of the ancient scholars is over now and the new age of technology has come in. Even though these artifacts and monuments are nothing but damaged and broken rubble, of no practical use, they provide knowledge and give insight into the thinking of humankind’s ancestors. They have become the symbol of strength, perseverance and even love.
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Following are 10 most famous and best historical monuments/places in the world.
10. Machu Picchu
Built in the 15th century, it is an Incan citadel found on a mountain ridge. The 2,430 mt high mountain ridge is found in Cusco Region, Peru. Believe to have been constructed by the then emperor Pachacuti in 1450, it was abandoned a century later during the Spanish Conquest. There have been found signs of agriculture being conducted here. It is interesting to know that there are also signs of human and animal sacrifices being made here. The local government has been able to restore 30 % of the structures in order to give the tourists the experience being in the citadel. It was also given the status of one of the Seven Wonders of the World by an online poll.
9. Taj Mahal
Today a gentleman may bring his lady flowers, chocolates or maybe a three day vacation and he still will fall short of achieving what emperor Shah Jahan achieved. In 1632 he commissioned to build the largest testimony of love, the Taj Mahal. Albeit he did it after Mumtaz Mahal died and it acts as her mausoleum, but all great love stories are sub-texted with tragedy (like Romeo and Juliet). It is found in Agra, Uttar Pradesh (India) and is in the center place of a 42 acre complex at the bank of the Yamuna River. Its total estimated price today is 827 million dollars. The famous story of how the hands of all the people involved in the construction were chopped has brought this Mecca of Love much notoriety.
‘Are you not entertained’ are the famous lines from the movie Gladiator, which shows gladiators who were medieval fighters who fought in the pits of amphitheaters with each other and several large animals for the entertainment of the population. The Coliseum is such an amphitheater in the city of Rome, Italy. The largest of its kind, it was built by Vespasian, the then emperor for Titus, soon to be his successor in AD 80 through the work started in AD 72. This concrete and sand marvel was said to hold 50,000 to 80,000 spectators. In recent years the Coliseum has been used for spiritual purposes by the pope.
To be honest, a random assortment of stones excites no one. But what if they were really huge, on top of a hill, have no stone quarries around them and dated in about 3100 BC. It is these questions and a few more which have all of us baffled and extremely interested in the Stonehenge. Located in Wiltshire, England no one knows the purpose of these stones. Each stone, which is 13 ft in height and 7 ft wide, weighs 25 tons. In a time when no technology existed, what motivated the then populous to erect these structures in a circle. The human remains found in the area have been used to claim that it was a sight of sacrifice rituals; some say it was a burial site. Recent theories are that it was the early interpretation of the solar system by the ancient astronomers. The mystery of the Stonehenge adds to its beauty and gives an eerie feel to the visitors, as if they are in the presence of something not of this world.
Indiana Jones fan know this one from the ‘Last Crusade’ movie. This 265 sq km city is built by being cut into the rocks, as is well renowned for it. It is found in southern Jordan and is well known for its architecture. The beautiful and eye-catching entrance to what is known as The Treasury is a testament to architecture and sculptor during that time. Dated close to 312 BC, it was the capital city of the Arab Nabateans who were a nomadic tribe. They were known as a trade hub and for their water collecting methods. The structures in stone combined with the deliberate artwork entice the tourists and gives you a glimpse of the life of the nomads.
5. Pyramids of Giza
It is blasphemous to not include pyramids in this list. Egyptians are famous for their sand, the Nile, the hieroglyphs and their Pyramids. Of all of them, the Pyramid of Giza is the largest of them all. Built for Pharaoh Khufu by Hemiunu for when he leaves the earthly planes and descends to the underworld to be judged by Osiris. As the name suggests, it is located in Giza, Egypt constructed about 2580-2560 BC. The entire complex includes Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre and Pyramid of Menjaure with three smaller pyramids called Pyramids of Queens. The sheer size of the pyramid and the methodology of construction have been a topic of controversy so much so that it had an entire episode in the tv series Ancient Aliens.
4. Easter Island
The Easter Island located in Chile is famous for the ancient headless statues called Moai. The Moai were created by the Rapa Nui people and depict a man with a long face from shoulder to forehead. There are about 887 statues and gives us an inclination to presume that the inhabitants of this island had made huge strides in stone craftsmanship. The island is mostly inhabited now and has no foot traffic except the tourists. New tech has shown us that some of these stone heads actually have entire bodies beneath it buried in the ground.
3. Great Wall of China
This Chinese marvel is large enough to be visible from space. The Great Wall of China is made of stone, wood, mud and many other materials. It was built from east-to-west lying across the northern boundary. This 21,196 km wall was majorly made and maintained in the Ming Dynasty. The primary purpose of the wall was military defense and boundary control and regulation. The Great Wall if a testimony to the t feats man can conquer.
2. Acropolis of Athens
Located in Athens, Greece this ancien city is a great example of Greek architecture. The famous Parthenon of Athena is found here. Acropolis means ‘higest point’ in greek. There are many acropoleis, but since this is so famous it is called just ‘The Acropolis’. Other buildings of importance in this city are the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. During the Morean War siege of Venetians in 1687, the Parthenon was severely damaged.
1. Christ the Redeemer
This Brazilian statue depicts Jesus Christ with his arms outstretched as to welcome people into the city of Reo De Janeiro. This soapstone statue stands 30 m high and was dedicated on October 12 1931. This site gets as much foot traffic from devotees as does Jerusalem or the Vatican City. It is monumental depiction of one of the largest religious groups in the world.
Historical monuments and cities are important to be able to learn more about the past. The more one can learn and know about the past, the more they can be prepared for the future.