Human beings have to change their landscape – they build, design and create magnificent lakes, huge bridges and glorious monuments to Gods. From the Pyramids of Giza to the Empire State Building, man-made constructions have been inspiring wonder and awe for millennia
Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma (Myanmar)
Burma’s most sacred site is a 2,500 year old shrine – guarding strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics. Huge statues of mythological lions stand at the entrance to the pagoda. At the top, the stupa is encrusted with diamonds and rubies, and the entire structure is coated in around 60 tonnes of pure gold plating, dazzling in the sunshine, the kind of splendour you would only find in the most holy of spiritual places.
Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge, over a kilometre of suspended steel and concrete, is a monumental accomplishment of engineering. Together its rich orange towers, combining art deco design and its colossal weight-bearing capabilities are an icon of San Francisco. The bridge dominates the landscape, whether glittering in the sunlight, or shadowed in the mist. It links San Francisco city to San Francisco Marin County, about 2 miles long, and has approximately 120,000 cars crossing it each day!
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona by Gaudi
The great cathedral remains unfinished and isn’t likely to be completed until at least 2026 (100 years after Gaudi’s death), its façade and interior are possessed of a quality of beauty that is ethereal
Duomo of Florence, Italy
The Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, this gargantuan gothic cathedral has stood over the thriving culture and turbulent lives of the Florentine people for over 500 years. Its towering golden domes and the intricate artful stonework of the façade make it a delight to look at. The dome is of brick and the largest in the world. Its design is a masterpiece with no external buttresses to stop it collapsing under its own weight.
Hassan II Mosque Casablanca
When King Hassan II of Morocco ordered the construction of the most impressive, beautiful building in all of Casablanca, this mosque, named for him, was the result. The subtle, skilfully designed marble structure features the tallest minaret in the world at 210m, and is built on a headland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The floor in the great hall is made from glass so you can see the seabed, the roof is retractable with a laser light pointing to Mecca – allowing worshippers to connect with God through the restless sea and the open sky. The mosque is a hub of activity, full of vibrancy, celebration and life.
Kiyomizu- Dera, Japan
The Kiyomizu- Dera temple is an oasis of peace within the thriving metropolis of Kyoto, surrounded by cherry blossoms, a waterfall and low, leafy hills that evoke the iconic watercolour imagery of the country’s culture. The temple’s design, too, is traditionally Japanese. Dating back centuries, the sweeping curves, wooden infrastructure and elaborate ornamentation give you a sense of an island of tranquility in a sea of activity.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur India
The Palace of Winds, a lesser-known Indian palace (by comparison to the Taj Mahal), the Hawa Mahal is no less awe-inspiring. The design is masterful; the top of the building takes the shape of the crown of Krishna, whilst the face’s honeycomb window pattern and latticework create a cooling effect, a sort of air conditioning! Originally the lattice was made so that the ladies inside could see the world outside, while remaining unseen in their ‘purdahs’.
We can take you to any one of these and more Architectural Wonders of the World – so you can gaze at Man’s Ingenuity too!
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