Ten Magnificent Monuments
Monuments can take many forms. Often they are built in memory of a person or an important event and take the shape of pillars, obelisks, statues or buildings. They can also be a structure that has survived through the generations and has historical significance to the people of the area. Everywhere you visit you’ll discover a monument, some grand and others quite simple. Here are ten that are scattered around the world. Try to visit them if you get the chance.
Nubian Monuments in Egypt
On the western bank of Lake Nasser in Egypt you’ll find two huge rock temples that have been carved out of the mountainside. These two temples have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
They were originally built in the 13th century during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II as a monument to himself and his queen Nefertari to commemorate a victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
The temples were completely relocated in the 1960’s to prevent destruction due to the creation of the lake.
Hampi in India
Hampi was the last capital of the medieval kingdom of Vijayanagara and is found within these ruins. Located about 217 miles from Bangalore, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.
The area was destroyed in the 16th century by Muslim sultans. There are over 500 different monuments to see on the grounds, including temples, palaces, pavilions, and royal platforms.
Reclining Buddha in Thailand
This Buddha is found inside Wat Pho, a temple near the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The temple contains more than 1,000 images of Buddha, including Reclining Buddha.
Reclining Buddha is magnificent. It is plated in gold, has mother of pearl on his eyes and the soles of his feet, and is 11 feet long and almost 3 feet tall. His feet display 108 different scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.
Stonehenge in England
Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. It is located in the English county of Wiltshire and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Archaeologists believe the site was built around 2500 BC and recent evidence suggests that it has always served as a burial ground.
There is a legend about Stonehenge that is based on the story of King Arthur. In the story, it is said that the magician Merlin used his magic to have the stones brought from Ireland in order to build a suitable memorial for 300 British noblemen that had been massacred by a Saxon leader.
Brandenburg Gate in Germany
This gate in Berlin is considered one of Europe’s greatest landmarks. Built between 1788 and 1791 it marked the entry to the boulevard Unter den Linden that led to the city palace. The gate is modeled after the entry into the Acropolis in Greece.
When the Nazi’s came to power they used the gate as a symbol of their party. Since then the gate has been restored, and with the Revolution of 1989 it has become a symbol of freedom and unity for the city of Berlin.
Horyu-ji in Japan
In the quiet village of Nara, outside of Kyoto, you’ll discover Nara’s Seven Great Temples. One of them is Horyu-ji, which has the significance of being one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. Built in the 7th century, it is also one of the oldest buildings in the world.
The treasure house of the temple contains priceless relics from the Asuka and Nara periods of history. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
Leshan Giant Buddha in China
This unbelievable Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907.) It was carved out of the face of a cliff in the Sichuan province and is 233 feet tall. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.
There are three rivers that merge together at the Buddha’s feet. The monk who led the construction believed the Buddha would help calm the turbulent water of these rivers. When funding was threatened, it is said that he gouged out his own eyes to show his devotion to the project.
Washington Monument in the United States
This tall obelisk sits on the National Mall in Washington D.C. It is the world’s tallest stone structure, the world’s tallest obelisk at 555 feet and 5 1/8 inches, and Washington D.C.’s tallest structure. The marble, granite and sandstone obelisk was built to commemorate President George Washington.
The monument took 36 years to build, primarily due to the Civil War and a lack of funds. It is reflected beautifully in the rectangular reflecting pool that extends west of the monument.
Monument to the Revolution in Mexico
The Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City is a long avenue built to commemorate the reforms implemented under President Benito Juarez. The street cuts diagonally straight across the city. Near the center of the avenue you’ll find the Monument to the Revolution.
The monument is an enormous dome supported by four arches. It was supposed to be part of a new parliament building but was never completed. Instead several heroes of the Mexican Revolution are buried here.
Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
This splendid statue is located at the top of Corcovado Mountain (elevation 2,300 feet) overlooking Rio de Janeiro. It has become a symbol of Christianity, and at 120 feet tall it is the second tallest of its kind in the world.
In 2007, Christ the Redeemer was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. There is a small red train that will take you up the hill to see this awe-inspiring sight. The statue is incomparable and the view is something you will never regret experiencing.
Read more about other monuments and interesting buildings:
- 11 Museums and Monuments that Take Us Back to the Future
- 9 Soaring Towers With a View from the Top
- Best Architecture Cities in the World
Additional photo credits:
Nubians by Mrs Logic on Flickr , Hampi by Jungle Boy on Flickr, Reclining Buddha by SJ Jagadeesh on Flickr, Stonehenge by Rob Ball on Flickr , Brandenburg Gate by Jonobate on Flickr , Horyu-ji by jpellgen on Flickr , Giant Buddha by drs2biz on Flickr , Washington Monument by kimberlyfaye on Flickr , Revolution by Drpoulette on Flickr, Christ the Redeemer by jasonpearce on Flickr