The Colosseum in Rome is an architectural wonder from the ancient world.
Architectural wonders from the ancient world still stand today. With few tools and rudimentary technology, people managed to construct some of the greatest architecture in the world. Their construction is sometimes a mystery, and their beauty is a wonder.
Stonehenge is a surviving marvel of ancient architecture. These massive stones were arranged in a circular pattern on an English plain around 2000 B.C. It took an enormous amount of manpower to move these stones. Those that make up the outer ring weigh as much as 50 tons each. In the 1960s, astronomer Gerald Hawkins found evidence that Stonehenge may have been used to observe and predict eclipses, solstices and other astronomy events. Other experts believe it was a burial ground.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza, located 10 miles west of Cairo, Egypt, was considered one of the seven wonders of the world by the Greeks. The pyramid is constructed of more than 2 million blocks of limestone weighing as much as 70 tons each. It stands 454 feet high. Scholars estimated the pyramid was constructed around 2600 B.C., but Giza Pyramid reports geological studies indicate that the pyramid to be 10,000 years older.
Great Wall of China
Construction of the Great Wall of China began in 221 B.C. to create a line of defense. Little of that early wall still exists, spanning from Lintau in the west to Liaodong in the east. The wall was expanded several times, most notably during the Ming dynasty between 1368 and 1644 A.D. In 2009, it was estimated the Great Wall of China spanned 5,500 miles, making it the largest architectural monument from ancient society.
The Colosseum of Rome was built around 80 A.D. as the first permanent amphitheater in Rome. It was built to hold 50,000 spectators around a central arena. A complex set of rooms and passageways were built under the wooden floor to house and transport animals. There were 80 entrances, so crowds could enter and exit easily. The Colosseum was built of concrete, travertine and brick.
Giant Buddha of Leshan
The Giant Buddha of Leshan, in China’s Sichuan Province, is the largest statue of Buddha in the world. It measures 71 meters high. According to the Travel China Guide, each shoulder is large enough for a basketball playground. Carving began on the Giant Buddha statue in 713 AD and concluded 90 years later.
Easter Island is an architectural wonder and mystery. This isolated island in the South Pacific was home to an indigenous people called Rapa Nui about 1,200 years ago. These people carved huge statues from volcanic rock. The statues, which look like enormous heads with hooded brows and prominent noses, are called moia. These figures, measuring an average of 14 feet high, may have been used for spiritual protection for the island or religious ceremonies.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, is a bell tower built in Romanesque style. The cylindrical style and open galleries between stories gives the tower a light, airy look, but it is best known for its lean. Bonanno Pisano began construction of the tower in 1174. Construction was abandoned by the time the tower reached the third level because it started to sink. Construction resumed 90 years later. The final piece, the belfry, was added in 1372.