Whenever the many wonders of the world are discussed, lists made by enthusiasts tend to focus on the naturally-occurring marvels that have developed over time. However, we think it would be remiss to ignore the greatness of the human mind, and its potential for creativity.
That said – here is a list of the 10 most breathtaking wonders of the world that were conceived by mankind.
Nevada is known for a lot of things, most of them taking place in one very bright city in Clark County (you know the one; what happens there stays there). Nevada has a lot more to offer than legalized gambling though. The Fly Geyser, located in Washoe County, can be considered partly naturally-occurring. However, the conditions that created the five foot high and twelve foot wide colorful cone-geyser were distinctly manmade. In 1964, well drillers in Nevada looking for some geothermal energy sources forgot to properly cap a hole they’d drilled on a private ranch named Fly Ranch. The collected mineral eventually came to the surface, creating a growth that is today a continuously active geyser.
We know that the famous pyramids were made by man, we just don’t know exactly how. Constructed around 2500 BC, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the three Ancient pyramids, and the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the World (not to mention, the only one that’s still intact). Each of the 2.3 million blocks that makes up the pyramid weigh anywhere from 25 to 80 metric tons. With no advanced equipment to speak of, the construction of the pyramid has baffled archaeologists to this day, with creation theories ranging from ropes, pulleys and thousands of slave workers to aliens (yes, aliens).
Though technically Teotihuacan is a pre-Colombian Mesoamerican city, it contains some of the most breathtaking manmade wonders. For that reason, the entire region makes the list. Aside from the Avenue of the Dead and the various artifacts housed in the city, the main attractions of Teotihuacan are the Mesoamerican Pyramids, particularly the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Both pyramids are the first and second (respectively) largest in Teotihuacan, with the Pyramid of the sun being the third largest ancient pyramid in the world.
Considered the largest religious monument in the world, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple complex. It later became a Buddhist complex, and still stands today after years of restoration work in the late 80s and early 90s, turning the temple into one of the main tourism sites in Cambodia.
Myanmar’s equivalent to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is a series of buildings in Bagan, an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma. It is thought that there were originally over 10,000 temples, monasteries and pagodas in the area when they were constructed in the 11th and 13th centuries. Today, just over 2,200 temples and pagodas exist, with the region being the main attraction of Burma.
You will find very few people who have never at least seen a picture of the Easter Island statues, known locally as Moai. Much like the Pyramid of Giza though, the construction methods of these giant statues – particularly how they were transported across Easter Island – is still disputed and discussed to this day. The statues are monolithic human figures, thought to be the faces of the native Rapu Nui people’s deified ancestors.
There are several giant manmade structures on this list that are the largest of their kind, and Rome’s Colosseum is no exception. Standing to this day as the largest amphitheater in the world, the Colosseum is also considered one of the greatest works of planning, engineering, and architecture ever constructed. At its apex, the structure could hold anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 people who came to enjoy everything from gladiator battles to public executions to stage plays.
One of the more recent developments on our list – it was constructed between 1922 and 1931 – the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil’s city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most iconic structures Brazil has produced. Standing at 98 feet tall with arms stretching 92 feet wide, the 635 ton statue stands at the highest point of the city on the Corcovado mountain, 2,300 feet above sea level. The statue overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro and represents the Christianity inherent to Brazilian culture.
Translating roughly from Persian and Arabic to mean “Crown of Palaces,” the Taj Mahal is India’s most famous historical artifact. Constructed between 1632 and 1653 as a mausoleum for Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s third wife, the Taj Mahal is considered one of the best representations of Indian architecture and art. It is also India’s largest tourist attraction, with over three million visitors a year.
Compared to the other items on this list, a tunnel may seem kind of mundane. However, when you consider that the Laerdal Tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world, it’s presence becomes a little more justifiable. Constructed between 1995 and 2000 for $113.1 million USD (1.082 billion in Norwegian krone), the tunnel connects the Norwegian cities of Laerdal and Aurland with a 15.23 mile road traveling through an entire mountain range. Over 1,000 vehicles travel the road each day, with numerous safety and air quality precautions in place to avoid any fatal mishaps.