Travelling is one of the greatest pleasures in life, and it is important to discover new places in your lifetime. There are many breath-taking locations all over the world, each with their own unique characteristics and monuments. These monuments have been around for either decades or centuries, and they all have a story to tell. We compiled a list of our favourite top 10 monuments that every person should visit at least once in their life.
10. Stonehenge, England
One of the most mysterious monuments around the world is the Stonehenge, a stone monument built over 5000 years ago in Salisbury, England. These scattered stones, some of which are up to 30 feet high, have possibly been arranged in a unique manner to face the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset. Salisbury plains, on which the monument was built, was considered a sacred place for many years even before Stonehenge was built. Research into the area has shown that the Stonehenge we see today was merely a small part of the extremely complex sacred area of the Salisbury plains.
9. Colosseum, Italy
The Colosseum is a well-known monument located in Rome, Italy. It is a grand masterpiece of the AD 80, built for seating almost 50,000 people. It was built for witnessing Roman gladiators fighting against each other or with wild animals. The amphitheatre was built by the emperor Vespasian and his son Titus, and for its inauguration, games were held for 100 days and nights. However, after the Roman Empire fell, the Colosseum was no longer used and parts of the monument were stolen and used to make other monuments in Rome. The Colosseum is currently being restored and may soon return to its former glory.
8. Petra, Jordan
One of the lost cities of the world, Petra in southern Jordan is one of the most remarkable archeological sites in the world. Also known as Rose City, it is the most-visited tourist attraction in Jordan. The city was introduced to the world in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It became famous due to its impeccable rock-cut architecture and water conduit system, which enabled the storage of water for long periods of drought. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It faces many threats like collapsing of the structures and erosion, but was included in the New Seven Wonders of the World to increase awareness and a Petra National Trust (PNT) was established.
Fun fact: Many scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed in Petra.
7. Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Thailand
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is one of the most-visited monuments in Thailand. It is a monastery, built in 1351 in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand. It is the inspiration for the Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. King Ramathibodi I constructed a royal palace in Ayutthaya, the same site where Wat Phra Sri Sanphet is seen currently. However, in 1488, a new palace was built in the north and the former palace was converted into a holy site. It remains one of the holiest sites in the world today. The Wat Phra Si Sanphet was raided during the Burmese invasion in 1767 and destroyed. The restoration of the site began in 1956.
6. Easter Island, Chile
Easter Island in Chile is a famous tourist attraction due to the tall statues in the area called Maoi. Earlier known as Rapa Nui, the area was named Easter Island in 1722 by Dutch explorers. Over 900 Maoi statues are scattered all over the island and are a beautiful testament to the skills of their sculptors. It is still a mystery as to why they were built and how many were built, and how they were moved all over the island. The statues are all 13 feet high and weigh 13 tonnes. The biggest statue weighs 82 tonnes and is about 32 feet tall.
5. Alhambra, Spain
Alhambra in Spain is a palace which was constructed as a fortress in AD 889. The fortress was converted into a grand and royal palace in 1333 and has Renaissance-inspired architecture as well. The name Alhambra means ‘the red’ in Arabic, signifying the bricks used to build the fortress, which is the colour of sun-dried tapia. The palace fell into ruin after the War of Independence in 1821, when some of its towers were blown up by the French. What remains today is a reminder of the beauty of Islam architecture of the time, with its outer walls, towers and the ramparts.
4. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
One of the well-known monuments in the world, the Great Pyramid of Giza is considered the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built approximately in 2580-2560 BC by the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. The pyramid was built over a period of 10-20 years and its construction involved extreme hard work of manpower day and night. The monument was considered the tallest man-made structure for over 3,800 years. It has a King’s Chamber, a Queen’s Chamber, and a Grand Gallery within the pyramid. The pyramid attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world every year.
3. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal, India’s most popular tourist attraction, was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1631, in honour of his wife Mumtaz Mahal after her death. Located in Agra, the monument attracts almost twice the population of Agra every year. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, due to its architectural magnificence of the Mughal era. It was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1983. The building still has the same grandeur today as it did when it was first built. The marble work of the building is considered one of the most impeccable architectural works in the world.
2. Notre Dame de Paris, France
Notre Dame de Paris or Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the well-known landmarks of France. Built from 1163 till 1177, it is a medieval cathedral with Catholic influences and is a beautiful example of French Gothic architecture. It faced mild destruction during the French Revolution but was restored in 1845 and further restored in 1991. It is considered one of the three most important buildings in Paris, the other two being the Eiffel Tower and the L’Arc de Triomphe.
1. Macchu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is an old Inca citadel in Peru, South America. It was built in the 15th century and is 2,430 metres above sea level. It is referred to as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ (however, the true Lost City of Incas is Vilcabamba). It was discovered in 1911 by explorer Hiram Bingham III. Machu Picchu was included in the list of the New Seven Wonders of the World and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The three most visible structures in Machu Picchu are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows. The term Machu Picchu literally translates to ‘old peak’ in Quechua language. The peak is accessible by trek or by train and attracts millions of visitors every year.
All these famous monuments have become landmarks of that particular region. Most of them have come under the blanket of various organisations like UNESCO, who protect the monument against the test of time. It is necessary to preserve these monuments to ensure that even in the future, people can still marvel at their magnificence.