Mother Nature is a gift, and we honour that with our articles that delve into some of the world’s most incredible natural sights. But another product of Mother Nature, humans, have managed to defy expectations of what we can build. As a species we are destructive, yet also artistic and creative. We see this so clearly in the magnificent man-made structures that exist in the world! Some of these impressive structures and buildings date back to hundreds and even thousands of years, which really makes you wonder how construction was possible. Without further ado, we’re looking at some of the most impressive man-made structures that’s definitely worth seeing with your own eyes!
1. Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
For over four-and-a-half thousand years, the world’s tallest tomb has towered over the desert sands west of the Nile. Built from more than 2 million stone blocks, Pharaoh Khufu’s pyramid stands 481 feet (147m) high and remained the tallest man-made structure for 3,800 years. Although it’s smooth limestone casing has eroded, its bare-stepped core is the real marvel, an astonishing feat of ancient engineering that archaeologists continue to argue over today. While it might not be the world’s largest tomb, it is arguably one of the world’s most scenic and spectacular man-made structures.
2. Great Wall of China, China
China’s first emperor conquered and united China’s warring strikes, but nomadic tribes continued to raid the nascent empire’s northern frontier. To guard against them, Emperor Qin had individual fortifications connected into one long barrier of rammed earth. Thus, the Great Wall was born almost 2,000 years ago. Over centuries and dynasties, it was repaired and expanded and eventually rebuilt in brick and stone. Contrary to popular belief, the wall isn’t visible from the moon. But at an astounding 13,171 miles (21,518km), it’s the world’s longest and one of the most impressive man-made structures.
3. The Louvre, France
The world’s largest museum is a time capsule wrapped in centuries of history. Begun as a fortress in the 12th century, The Louvre was converted into a royal residence in the 14th and 15th century, then into a museum after the French Revolution. Its spectacular glass pyramid completed in 1989 has become an iconic Parisian landmark. But of course, the museum’s collection is the real draw. The sprawling gallery area displays 38,000 objects across eight curatorial departments, with 403 rooms and nine miles of galleries and hallways!
4. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
A palpable sense of awe permeates the cavernous nave of the world’s largest church. Built over the tomb of Jesus’s apostle St. Peter, according to tradition, the Basilica is the heart of the Catholic faith. It is also an exemplar of Renaissance architecture, renowned in particular for Michelangelo’s mesmerising dome as well as his haunting Pietà. In the centre of the nave reaching up toward the dome, are the twisted columns of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Baroque Baldachin around the papal altar. For pilgrims and sightseers, this is truly a place of fascination and wonder.
5. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The world’s largest religious monument is a stunning architectural achievement that’s endured for almost a thousand years. Begun by Khmer king Suryavarman II in the 12th century, Angkor Wat was originally dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu, but soon became a centre of Buddhist worship instead. The grounds are sprawling and you’ll need at least three days to finish exploring the park. It’s the harmonious design, lotus bud towers and intricate artwork truly gives this place its sense of grandeur and devotion.
6. Prague Castle, Czech Republic
High up on the hilltop across from Prague’s Old Town, the palaces, halls and spires of the world’s largest ancient castle dominate the skyline. For a thousand years, the grandiose Prague Castle has been the seat of power for monarchs, emperors and presidents. The monumental complex comprises courtyards, churches, cobblestone streets and lavish royal residences built in a rich range of architectural styles. Come for the grandeur and the history, and linger for the magical views over the city!
7. Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates
The silver spire of the Burj Khalifa strains toward heaven – the ultimate expression of man’s ambition. Rising up over the empty desert, the gigantic tower defies gravity at a staggering 2,717 feet (845m) high, more than 640 feet (195m) higher than its closest rival – China’s Shanghai Tower. Opened in 2010, the colossal 163-story structure is now a quintessential symbol of Dubai, with a design inspired by Islamic architecture and the desert flower Hymenocallis. While the choreographed fountain at its base delights passerbys, it’s the dizzying observation decks on the 124 and 148 floors that leave visitors breathless, providing panoramic views stretching all the way to the distant shores of Iran.
8. Hongyagu Glass Bridge, China
Have a fear of heights? Then you might want to close your eyes for this one. Hongyagu Glass Bridge in China’s Hebei Province is the longest glass-bottom bridge in the world, spanning 1,600 feet (488m) over a 715-foot (218m) drop. Opened in 2017, it affords visitors a magnificent bird’s-eye view of the valley below! Once you have braved the Hongyagu Glass Bridge, you could be ready for the world’s highest – Zhangjiajie Bridge in Hunan.
9. Petronas Towers, Malaysia
Looking up at these stainless steel giants is awe-inspiring, and the view from their sky bridge is just as jaw-dropping! The Petronas Towers dwarfs the city around them, with its 88 storeys reaching up to a height of 1,483 feet (452m). Completed in 1998, the shimmering superstructures are the tallest twin towers in the world, with a unique design that blends post-modern architecture and Islamic motifs. It’s a marvel to some and a challenge to others, such as French climber Alain Robert who in September 2009 reached the top without safety equipment. Fortunately for the rest of us, the towers are just as impressive from the ground.