A world heritage site is a place that has been chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) due to its cultural, historic or scientific significance to be legally protected by international treaties. UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be natural places like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or even the Grand Canyon in the United States of America, but in some cases, they are buildings and man-made structures that are selected due to its greatness to be protected and cared for by all mankind. Here at Kenny Slaught’s blog we always focus on the marvelous work architects do all over the world and in this occasion we want to focus specifically on UNESCO World Heritage Sites that can also be considered great wonders of architecture.
Pyramids of Giza – Egypt
The method of construction of The Pyramids of Giza are still the subject of much debate amongst archaeologists, engineers, and architects who continue to be amazed by these amazing structures. They are the only ancient world wonder that still stands today and probably will continue to rule the valley for many years to come. For 3,800 years, the main pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the planet measuring 481 feet.
The Taj Mahal – India
This beautiful white marble mausoleum was commissioned in 1632 by the emperor Shah Jahan to be the tomb of the love of his life. The entire complex has a mosque, a guesthouse and acres of gardens that are visited by millions of tourists every year. Many people consider it to be the most beautiful example of Mughal Architecture and India’s most iconic structure.
Angkor Wat – Cambodia
Angkor Wat in Cambodia is considered the largest religious monument in the world. The site is a complex of temples that were originally constructed for the Hindu God Vishnu but the site was later transformed to honor Buddhism. Angkor Wat means “City of Temples” in the modern translation and was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the 12th century.
Statue of Liberty – USA
Liberty Enlightening the World is the actual name translated from the French of this iconic sculpture that is known all over the world. The massive statue was a gift to the United States of America from France in 1886 and it has been in place since then greeting all the vessels that arrive the new world giving a warm welcome of hope and friendship to the many immigrants that have come to the USA.
The Great Wall – China
As early as the 7th century, many walls were built along the northern borders of China to protect the different Chinese states from the invasions of the many nomadic groups that inhabited the region back then. These walls were eventually joined together to form the huge wall that covers more than 5,500 miles of Chinese territory. Many materials make the wall including wood, tamped earth, brick, and stone.
Kronborg Castle – Denmark
The castle is mainly known for being the home of Hamlet, the main character in Shakespeare’s play by the same name. The site was originally built by built by King Eric VII in the 1420’s and has been throughout its history a fortress, a prison, a stronghold and a home. In 1629 a fire destroyed a large part of the castle, but King Christian IV had it rebuilt to its former glory.
Acropolis – Greece
The Acropolis is an ancient citadel built upon a hilltop overlooking the city of Athens in Greece. The complex has a series of buildings of great cultural and architectural significance, amongst them the temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon. While a large restoration process began in the 1970’s to restore the temples back to their original condition, much of the work is still not complete.
Agra Fort – India
The Agra Fort is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in India, located about 3 miles away from the Taj Mahal. The fort is a walled structure meant to protect those who lived inside of it from invasions. History tells of the times when it was invaded and taken over as early as 1080 AD when a Ghaznavid force conquered it.
Tower of London – England
This beautiful tower is a historical castle that has stood in London since times before the city is what it is today. The fortress was used as a prison for 800 years, but its real purpose was to be the royal residence. The Tower of London was been of great importance in the history of England and it continues to stand today as a beautiful example of the rich patrimony the country offers to the world.
Notre Dame Cathedral – France
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is amongst the largest and most well known religious buildings in the world. The building is the quintessential example of French Gothic architecture. Construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII and it was completed almost 200 years later.