Architectural designs from ancient pyramids to modern skyscrapers, humans have a long history of building structures that were amazing feats of engineering. These 11 examples, each unique in its own way all share the common goal of being awe-inspiring and beautiful at the same time.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt – Completed 2560 BC
In time, this pyramid was 146.5 meters tall, making it the tallest man-made structure for over 3,800 years until the Lincoln Cathedral was built in England during 1311 AD. This incredible feat required 2.3 million stone blocks weighing from two to 30 tonnes each with some slabs as large as eight feet by four feet by 20 feet (2.4m x 1.2m x 6.1m) and weighing up to 15 tonnes.
The Colosseum, Rome – Completed AD 80
Built in the 1st century by the Roman Empire, The Colosseum has a capacity of 50,000 spectators and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering ever produced during ancient times. Today, it still stands strong in Rome after nearly 2,000 years and is visited by approximately four million tourists annually.
Chichén Itzá: The Mayan Civilization may not have developed an alphabet like its European counterparts but it left behind many impressive buildings in Mesoamerica (modern-day Mexico) that remain today as archaeologists continue to study this incredible culture that thrived from the 3rd century BC to the 16th century AD. One of these is Chichén Itzá, which has been included in Mexico’s tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
Stonehenge, England – Completed around 1500 BC
This prehistoric monument near Amesbury, Wiltshire was built using 56 enormous stones weighing up to 40 tonnes each that were transported from Wales and erected in an elliptical shape without the use of mortar or concrete to bind them together.
Antelope Canyon – Arizona, United States
A popular tourist attraction is known worldwide as one of Antelope Canyon’s most distinguishing features are its incredible sandstone formations formed by flash floods rushing through the narrow passageways over thousands of years. The two photos below were taken only twenty minutes apart, yet look entirely different.
The Eastgate House, Zimbabwe – Completed in 1975
An English architect named Mick Pearce built one of the most iconic structures of modern times, specializing in sustainable construction techniques. Steel cord supports that are anchored to a concrete wall and guided around the edge of the house so as not to obstruct windows hold the cantilevering structure up. This design provides sufficient support for its triangular shape, which gives off an appearance similar to that of a bird taking flight or even an airplane about to land.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
This incredible cathedral took nearly 130 years to be completed with much controversy surrounding its exterior. Frank Ghery designed a facade after Ghery refused to follow original plans. The inside of the church is just as breathtaking, featuring a massive central skylight, stained glass windows, and 8,000 square meters of mosaics on the walls and ceilings.
Flinders Street Station, Australia
The iconic Flinders Street Station is one of the most recognized structures in Australia, having been featured on many postage stamps over the years. While not necessarily an architectural marvel, it has a certain charm that has allowed it to become a popular tourist attraction since its opening in 1910.
Stone Church, New Hampshire – Completed 1832
One of the oldest churches still standing today, it created this incredibly unique building from enormous granite blocks quarried from nearby fields. Originally designed Congregational worship services until 1880, when the church was re-purposed for use as a Town Hall and general assembly.
Canfranc Rail Station, Spain – Completed in 1933
This incredible train station between France and Spain is quite large and imposing at nearly 130 meters (427 feet) long and 70 meters (229 feet) high with its massive arches. Unfortunately, it was closed after only 34 years of service due to damage caused by poor maintenance coupled with World War II that created a shortage of materials needed to maintain such a structure.
The Pantheon Rome – Completed 128 AD
One of Rome’s best-preserved ancient buildings, this incredibly well-structured building, has stood the test of time withstanding earthquakes throughout history which have caused it to be repaired many times. It was recently restored between 2002-2009 with the addition of state-of-the-art anechoic chambers that absorb 99% of sound, allowing visitors to hear their own heartbeats while inside.
Salisbury Cathedral, England – Completed 1258
One of Europe’s largest cathedrals standing almost 108 meters (354 feet) in height, this cathedral is built on top of a hill, giving it an even more imposing presence than when viewed at ground level. A work in progress for around 400 years, its construction started in 1075 and took nearly 200 years to complete under five different Bishops. If you look closely enough, you can see signs that certain parts were not completed, such as windows which are visible through empty frames without glass.
Read More On Feng Shui Superstitions about Indoor Plants