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World’s best architectural marvels in ancient history

28 July 2016

Living in the digital age, we may be in more awe of the modern structures that have been built around the globe, using some of the latest technology, ideas and raw material. However, there is something special about the ancient monuments or structures that has made them withstand the test of time, and still leave the viewers in amazement. Let us go through such a list of the top architectural marvels in ancient history that are pretty unique in their own way.

The Egyptian Pyramids

These are some of the highly popular cultural monuments that have been known to the world. And to know that more than 80 such pyramids have been around starting from the BC period, is simply astonishing. These are ancient masonry structures that have been given the unique shape of a pyramid.

Some of the earliest pyramids are located at Saqqara, northwest of Memphis. An example of one of the oldest pyramid was the ‘Pyramid of Djoser’ that was designed by the architect Imhotep, during the third dynasty. On the outskirts of Cairo, at Giza, you will come across some of the most popular Egyptian pyramids.

When the oldest one was built, the architect Imhotep used the notion of stacking mastabas (bench-like structures where people with sufficient means got buried) on top of each other. This resulted in the creation of an edifice consisting of a number of steps that reduced in size towards the apex. This was the idea behind the design of ‘Pyramid of Djoser’ so that it could serve as a stairway to heaven for the soul of the deceased pharaoh.

Roman Colosseum

One of the largest amphitheatres of its time, Colosseum, was built in ancient Rome, and measured around 620 by 523 feet in area. The construction of this gigantic stone amphitheatre began in 72 AD, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, and it was completed by his son Titus around 80 AD. It was built to accommodate around 50,000 people as spectators, for whom 80 entrances into this arena were arranged.

This oval amphitheatre stands at the centre of Rome, in Italy, and was built making use of concrete and sand. It was labelled as the ‘Flavian Amphitheatre’, as the emperors during whose reign this was constructed, were all from the Flavian dynasty.

St Paul’s Cathedral

This one easily classifies as one of the most iconic buildings in London. The original site of this church was discovered in 604 AD, but after the Great Fire of London, a major rebuilding program was carried out. This latest design was the work of architect Sir Christopher Wren, who took a decade to complete the designing part (after starting in 1668), and then, the real construction work took another 40 years.

The St Paul’s Cathedral shines in the London city skyline, lying atop one of its highest points at Ludgate Hill. It has a popular dome that is one of the world’s largest, measuring around 112 metres in height.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

It is clearly one of the most remarkable and unbelievable architectural structures still standing in Italy, Europe. The surprising part about this architectural marvel is that it began to tilt (lean) during its construction itself, as it is believed that soft ground on one side was not able to support its weight appropriately.

Even though the construction of Tower of Pisa began in 1173, it got interrupted multiple times due to war, debts and other issues, which led to the entire work getting completed only in about 300 years. Before 1990, the tower leaned at an angle of about 5.5 degrees, which got reduced to 3.99 degrees, by the restoration work done between 1990 and 2001.

This Romanesque style tower was built with marble and stone, through the expertise of architect Bonnano Pisano. However, there are some studies that even attribute credit to another architect Diotisalvi.

Taj Mahal

There is a reason why this Indian monument is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is often regarded as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture, as it was built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz, and to house her tomb within it. This ivory white marble structure was designed by architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

It is universally admired for its beauty, and has even been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main mausoleum was completely ready by 1643, after work had begun around 1632. However, the surrounding area work continued for another 10 years, which is understandable as it is a 42-acre complex comprising of the tomb, a mosque, a guest house, and crenelated wall on three sides.

Hope you have enjoyed knowing further details about the various architectural marvels that make our history unique and interesting.