The world is full of natural and man-made monuments that reflect stories about their creators and events in the past. These historic places are still maintained by the government or private organisations and are open to the public.
All of the historic places are protected by law and any act of destroying them is considered as a criminal offence. All these sites have tour guides who know the entire history of the place and are happy to answer any questions that a tourist might ask. Their fee is either included in the entrance ticket or has to be paid separately. Either way, if a tourist is completely new to that place and culture, renting a tour guide would be the best way forward. They are often locals who were brought up in that area and hence have first-hand knowledge of the past and current events. Here are the top 10 most famous historical places in the world in 2018.
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10. Machu Picchu, Peru
Located in Peru, Machu Picchu was built by Incas, the largest empire in the sixteenth century. Its three main structures attract visitors from all over the world. Intihuatana is a ritual stone that was built as per the Incan calendar. The Temple of Sun was the main headquarters for various religious ceremonies of that period. Only priests were allowed admission into that area as the soil was considered to be sacred. Lastly, the view from the Room of Three Windows is said to be of three different parts of the world: underground, heaven, and present. There are many tourist class hotels in the city and numerous hikes and tours by the tourism department that allow for a tourist to enjoy the place completely.
9. The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
This pyramid is the largest pyramid in Egypt built by Pharaoh Khufu and is the only one which is still intact after all these years. How they were built and why that particular location was chosen for the pyramid is still a great mystery. It is over 3000 years old and along with other smaller pyramids, has deep astronomical significance.
8. Petra, Jordan
Rare are those monuments which have remained intact, and even rarer is the discovery of a whole city that has historical significance. Located in Jordan, Petra is a historical and archaeological city that was discovered by a Swiss explorer sometime in the 1800’s. Petra is one of the seven wonders of the world and also has a reserved place in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
7. Easter Island, Chilean Island
Located in the Pacific Ocean, Easter Island is famous for its eight hundred odd statues. This is a Chilean island and is considered its special territory. The statues present here are made out of volcanic ash, giving a deep insight into the minds of people that once lived here. This is now a UNESCO Heritage Site.
6. Taj Mahal, India
Located in Agra, India, Taj Mahal is a famous historic monument that speaks volumes about eternal love. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife’s tomb. Though its marble structure is slowly deteriorating due to pollution, it is considered to be one of the greatest monuments ever built.
5. Mysore Palace, India
A royal palace originally built in the fourteenth century, it is located in the heart of Mysore city in India. Millions of tourists visit this place every year as it is the official residence of the Wadiyar Dynasty. Wadiyar Dynasty had ruled the kingdom of Mysore for five hundred years. The only survivors of the Lunar Dynasty, they were enthralled by Mysore’s beauty and settled there. A three-story structure surrounded by beautiful gardens makes it a must visit place in India.
4. Stonehenge, England
3000 years old and still intact, Stonehenge is the best-known monument in England. While from a distance a group of standing pillars meets one’s eye, this ring of stones dates back to 2000 BC. It was constructed in three phases and each of them required more than forty million hours of labor. It is England’s most visited place and its mysteries have attracted tourists from every corner of the world.
Archaeologists have been studying not only the set of stones but also the area around it, trying to figure why they were built in that particular location and what do they signify. A recent BBC article believes the mystery might finally be solved. There were many underground excavations that revealed that Stonehenge was once a part of a larger structure. The Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project was one of the most important projects that took place. During its four year duration from 2010 to 2014, it uncovered burial sites and underground routes that signify there is much more to the story than previously thought.
It is strongly believed by archaeologists that this site was once used as a burial ground. For this reason, tourists are not allowed to enter the ring. They can only walk around this historic place which is managed and owned by the English Heritage.
3. The Colosseum, Rome
The Colosseum is located in the heart of Rome and is the largest amphitheatre in the world. It had the capacity to hold tens of thousands of people and this very fact was the reason to build eighty entrances so that the crowd can enter and leave easily. What remains now of the structure is only the original interior wall, much of its structure has fallen due to earthquakes but it still remains an eye-catching monument.
2. Victoria Memorial, India
Victoria Memorial, a large marble monument located in West Bengal in India, was built in the memory of Queen Victoria, the Empress of India. Following her death, Lord Curzon had suggested that a monument could be built in her memory. The construction cost around a crore rupees and was donated by British funds as well as Indian states. The monument was opened to the public in 1921 and has been attracting thousands of visitors ever since.
1. The Great Wall of China, China
Spanning twenty-one thousand odd kilometres in Northern China, the Great Wall of China has been present for more than two thousand years. It was built by not one, but many dynasties to protect their respective regions. To prevent the invasion of other states, the wall construction first took place in 770 BC by a Qi state duke and then carried on by the Ming Dynasty. Most of the wall that is seen today is built by the Ming Dynasty.
Other than to prevent invasion, the Great Wall of China was also built to protect the Silk Road Trade that linked China and Northern Asia. It is a well-known fact that China was the best silk producer at that time. This attracted Northern Asia and the two nations began trading. The merchants used to bring horse and cattle in exchange for the Chinese silk. To protect this trade, the wall was built so that no outsiders could attack the caravans.
One of the reasons the Great Wall fascinates and attracts tourists is because of lakhs of workers, separated from their families, worked hard to build it and when some of them died to work, they were made a part of the wall itself. Human damage and earthquakes have eroded a part of the wall but several restoration schemes have put in to preserve it. This place is a must visit for every individual and it attracts more than 70,000 tourists per day!
A large number of the monuments were built by emperors and dynasties of that era as a time lasting memory of their loved ones or their legacies. Many of the historical monuments are now protected by law and various efforts are being taken by the governments of respective nations to preserve it against natural and human damage. These monuments offer a glimpse into the past, their lives and the events that took place back then.