50 landmarks to visit before you die (I)
Originally, a landmark literally meant a geographic feature used by explorers and others to find their way back or through an area.
Now, a landmark includes anything that is easily recognizable, such as a monument or a building, or any other spot to designate places that might be of interest to tourists.
A few examples are the Statue of Liberty, Uluru, the Taj Mahal, Mount Everest, and the Eiffel Tower.
When we see one of those, everyone knows in which part of the world they are located. Here are 50 landmarks for you to recognize. Are you ready for a trip around the world?
Blue-domed Church in Santorini
Santorini and beautiful white washed blue domed churches are synonymous with each other. With over 250 Santorini churches on the tiny Greek Island you cannot turn round without viewing yet another pretty little church just waiting to be photographed.
Quite a few of the beautiful churches in Santorini are used as wedding locations for the many weddings conducted on this romantic isle.
As with other Greek Islands and mainland Greece the Church plays a significant role in the lives of the Greek people. The Greek Orthodox Church dominates the many cultural traditions, rituals and festivals that impact upon the daily lives of the Greeks.
On Santorini religious events, festivals, feast days and rituals punctuate the cycle of the year. Easter is the most significant event and has many traditions attached to it. From painting eggs red, burning an effigy of Judas, baking special Easter bread and cakes to observing religious vigils and church ceremonies and spit roasting lambs on Easter Sunday.
Easter is always a special and significant time in Greece and the Greek Islands.
Greek Easter does not always fall on the same date as western Easter because the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar when calculating Easter and not the Gregorian.
St Basil Cathedral in Moscow
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat (Russian: Собор Покрова пресвятой Богородицы, что на Рву), popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral (Russian: Собор Василия Блаженного), is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the geometric centre of the city and the hub of its growth since the 14th century. It was the tallest building in Moscow until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600.
The original building, known as "Trinity Church" and later "Trinity Cathedral", contained eight side churches arranged around the ninth, central church of Intercession; the tenth church was erected in 1588 over the grave of venerated local saint Vasily (Basil). In the 16th and 17th centuries the church, perceived as the earthly symbol of the Heavenly City , as happens to all churches in Byzantine Christianity, was popularly known as the "Jerusalem" and served as an allegory of the Jerusalem Temple in the annual Palm Sunday parade attended by the Patriarch of Moscow and the tsar.
The building's design, shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, has no analogues in Russian architecture: "It is like no other Russian building. Nothing similar can be found in the entire millennium of Byzantine tradition from the fifth to fifteenth century ... a strangeness that astonishes by its unexpectedness, complexity and dazzling interleaving of the manifold details of its design." The cathedral foreshadowed the climax of Russian national architecture in the 17th century.
A victim of state atheism the church was stolen from the Russian Orthodox community as part of the Soviet Unions anti-theist campaigns and has operated as a division of the State Historical Museum since 1928. It was completely and forcefully secularized in 1929 and, as of 2011, remains a federal property of the Russian Federation. The church has been part of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It is often mislabelled as the Kremlin owing to its location on Red Square in immediate proximity of the Kremlin
The Statue of Liberty in New York
The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.
Machu Picchu in Peru
7,000 feet above sea level and nestled on a small hilltop between the Andean Mountain Range, the majestic city soars above the Urabamba Valley below. The Incan built structure has been deemed the “Lost Cities”, unknown until its relatively recent discovery in 1911. Archaeologists estimate that approximately 1200 people could have lived in the area, though many theorize it was most likely a retreat for Incan rulers. Due to it’s isolation from the rest of Peru, living in the area full time would require traveling great distances just to reach the nearest village.
Separated into three areas - agricultural, urban, and religious - the structures are arranged so that the function of the buildings matches the form of their surroundings. The agricultural terracing and aqueducts take advantage of the natural slopes; the lower areas contain buildings occupied by farmers and teachers, and the most important religious areas are located at the crest of the hill, overlooking the lush Urubamba Valley thousands of feet below.
Hikers, tourists, and the early explorers describe similar emotions as they climb their way through the Inca Trail. Many call the experience magical. Glancing out from the Funerary Rock Hut on all the temples, fields, terraces, and baths seems to take you to another time. Blending in with the hillside itself, many say the area creates a seamless and elegant green paradise, making it a must for anyone who travels to Peru.
The Taj Mahal in Agra ( India )
Taj Mahal, the magnificent monument that stands at the heart of India has a story that has been melting the hearts of millions of listeners since the time Taj has been visible. A story, that although ended back in 1631, continues to live on in the form of Taj and is considered a living example of eternal love. It's the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, two people from the course of history who set an example for the people living in present and the future to come. An English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold best describes it as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passion of an emperor's love wrought in living stones." The story that follows next will prove why the statement is true.
Shah Jahan, initially named Prince Khurram, was born in the year 1592. He was the son of Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor of India and the grandson of Akbar the Great. In 1607 when strolling down the Meena Bazaar, accompanied by a string of fawning courtiers, Shah Jahan caught a glimpse of a girl hawking silk and glass beads. It was love at first sight and the girl was Mumtaz Mahal, who was known as Arjumand Banu Begum at that time. At that time, he was 14 years old and she, a Muslim Persian princess, was 15. After meeting her, Shah Jahan went back to his father and declared that he wanted to marry her. The match got solemnized after five years i.e., in the year 1612.
It was in the year 1628 that Shah Jahan became the Emperor and entrusted Arjumand Banu with the royal seal. He also bestowed her with the title of Mumtaz Mahal, meaning the "Jewel of the Palace". Though Shah Jahan had other wives also, but, Mumtaz Mahal was his favorite and accompanied him everywhere, even on military campaigns. In the year 1631, when Mumtaz Mahal was giving birth to their 14th child, she died due to some complications. While Mumtaz was on her deathbed, Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry and will build the richest mausoleum over her grave.
It is said that Shah Jahan was so heartbroken after her death that he ordered the court into mourning for two years. Sometime after her death, Shah Jahan undertook the task of erecting the world's most beautiful monument in the memory of his beloved. It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his body was placed in a tomb next to the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. This magnificent monument came to be known as "Taj Mahal" and now counts amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. This is the true story of the Taj Mahal of India, which has mesmerized many people with its bewitching beauty.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris
You couldn't possibly visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Even if you do not want to visit this world famous structure, you will see its top from all over Paris. The tower rises 300 meters tall (984 ft); when it was completed at the end of the 19th century it was twice as high as the Washington Monument, at the time the tallest structure in the world.
The Eiffel Tower was built for the World Exhibition in 1889, held in celebration of the French Revolution in 1789.
The construction was only meant to last for the duration of the Exposition, but it still stands today, despite all protests from contemporary artists who feared the construction would be the advent of structures without 'individuality' and despite the many people who feared that this huge 'object' would not fit into the architecture of
Eiffel Tower at night, Paris. Today, there is no such aversion anymore among the Parisians, and one could not imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower, in fact it has become the symbol of the City of Light.
The man behind the Eiffel Tower was Gustave Eiffel, known from his revolutionary bridge building techniques, as employed in the great viaduct at Garabit in 1884. These techniques would form the basis for the construction of the Eiffel Tower. He was also known for the construction of the Statue of Liberty's iron framework.
The structure took more than two years to complete. Each one of the about 12,000 iron pieces were designed
Eiffel Tower in the evening separately to give them exactly the shape needed. All pieces were prefabricated and fit together using approx. 7 million nails.
The Great Sphynx at Giza
The Sphinx of Giza is a symbol that has represented the essence of Egypt for thousands of years. Even with all of the pictures that we see of the Sphinx, nothing can really prepare you for the time that you finally see the Sphinx with your own eyes. Here's a look at the Sphinx that will give you a hint of what you can expect to see if you visit Egypt.
The Chinese Wall in China
The Great Wall was key to protecting agriculture and resisting cavalry of the Huns and other warrior tribes from the north. The advantages of the enormous barrier diminished with the advancement of gunpowder and other weaponry.
The wall was originally built of stone, wood, grass and earth. In the Ming Dynasty bricks were produced in kilns set up along the wall. The bricks were transported by men carrying them on their backs, donkeys, mules and even goats had a brick tied to their head before being driven up a mountain.
The Great Wall of China was built over more than two thousand years. Construction on the first section began between the 7th and 6th century BC, and the last work on the wall was done between the 14th and 17th centuries.
Uluru in the Northern Territory
About 450 kilometres by road from Alice Springs, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to the most recognised Australian landmark - Uluru (previously called Ayers Rock) World-Heritage listed, Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park covers an area of approximately 1325 square kilometres of striking landscape. In addition to the Rock the park also includes Kata Tjuta (previously called the Olgas).
It is administered by the Australian Nature Conservation Agency on behalf of the traditional Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara owners, some of whom live in the small Mutitjulu community at the base of Uluru. The traditional owners collectively call themselves Anangu, and would like you to use that term.
Most visitors would have seen photographs, illustrations, television documentaries or advertisements featuring Uluru, but nothing prepares you for the physical impact of the vast monolith. Its sheer immensity dwarfs everything around it. Uluru is some 9 kilometres in circumference and it rises approximately 400 metres above the surrounding plain (900 metres above sea level).
Uluru has acquired its reputation not just because it is such a unique landform, but also because of the effect the sun has on its colours and appearance. Sunrises and Sunsets cause changes to its colour from browns though oranges, reds to finally grey. The best colour effects occur on overcast days. Additionally the sun casts shadows off the larger and smaller gaps on the rock face which incredibly changes its look almost by the minute.
The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen
The statue of The Little Mermaid (Danish: Den lille havfrue) sits on a rock in the harbour of the capital of Denmark. Based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction.
The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been fascinated by a ballet about the fairytale in Copenhagen's Royal Theatre and asked the primaballerina, Ellen Price, to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the bronze statue, which was unveiled on 23 August 1913. The statue's head was modelled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor's wife Eline Eriksen was used for the body.
Windmills at Kinderdijk ( Holland )
Kinderdijk is a small village at a distance of only 16 kilometers of Rotterdam and a little bit less than 10 kilometers from the cityborder of the oldest city in Holland, Dordrecht. Never the less is the village unique for it 19 windmills dating from the 1500s.
During the 2nd complete week of september the Kinderdijk windmills are lighted at night, which is called mills in floodlight. This attracts many visitors from all over the world,a nd can be recomended to anyone.
Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey
Unfortunately nothing remains of the original Hagia Sophia, which was built on this site in the fourth century by Constantine the Great. Constantine was the first Christian emperor and the founder of the city of Constantinople, which he called "the New Rome." The Hagia Sophia was one of several great churches he built in important cities throughout his empire.
Following the destruction of Constantine's church, a second was built by his son Constantius and the emperor Theodosius the Great. This second church was burned down during the Nika riots of 532, though fragments of it have been excavated and can be seen today.
Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537 under the personal supervision of Emperor Justinian I. It is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings. After completion, Justinian is said to have exclaimed, Νενίκηκά σε Σολομών ("Solomon, I have outdone thee!".
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis is the one historical site you can't miss. You can take a tour or wander up there yourself but during the summer, whatever you do, unless it is overcast, go early or late in the day. It can get very hot up there and gasping for breath can take way from your ability to marvel at the greatest of all archaeological sites. Getting to the Acropolis is easy and more pleasant than ever because the large avenues which border the south and west of the site (Apostolou Pavlou in Thission and Dionissiou Areopagitou in Makrianni) have been turned into giant pedestrian streets with cafes and restaurants and the walk is quite pleasant. From the Plaka and Monastiraki side it has always been a car-less, enjoyable walk and all you have to do is walk uphill from wherever you are and when you get to the top and there are woods instead of buildings, and steps, take a right.
Mount Fuji in Japan
Climbing Mount Fuji (3776 meters), Japan's highest and most prominent mountain, can make for lifelong memories. The mountain itself may look more attractive from afar than from close up, but the views on clear days and the experience of climbing through the early morning hours among hundreds of equally minded hikers from across the world, are very rewarding.
Stonehenge in the English county of Wiltshire
The origin of Stonehenge dates back to prehistoric times. The origin of Stonehenge is still unknown to this day. Folklore has it that Stonehenge was the work of wizards, gods and giants due to the circular structure. British mythology theorizes the stones came from Africa by giants and were transported across the sea by Merlin.
It is speculated that the heel stone was thrown by the devil at a monk that was spying on him. But the facts about Stonehenge comes from the meaning of the word Stonehenge. Henge means a prehistoric monument built in a circle surrounded by a ditch generally used for tribal and religious rituals. Stone being the biggest henge in Britain giving it’s name as Stonehenge. There is no documentation as to why this was built, no records or blueprints from anyone who was involved in the construction of Stonehenge.
Some archaeologists believe the Amesbury Archer, whose tomb was discovered three miles from Stonehenge, is the key to understanding why Stonehenge was built. Archer’s corpse was examined and documentation reveals he was a wealthy and powerful man with a skill of metal working. With examination of Archer’s corpse revealing he had some serious health issues, some believe he came to Stonehenge to be healed. Archer’s remains dated back to the same time the first circle of the Stonehenge was built. Whether Archer came to Stonehenge to be healed or just to work is still unknown.(...)
Big Ben in London
The Houses of Parliament and the clock tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London's most iconic landmarks.
Technically, Big Ben is the massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).
Neuschwanstein in Bavaria
King Ludwig II said. "I intend to rebuild the old castle ruins of Hohenschwangau by the Pollat Gorge in the genuine style of the old German Knightly fortresses........the spot is one of the most beautiful that one could ever find. "
Neuschwanstein Castle, royal palace in the Bavarian Alps of Germany, the most famous of three royal palaces built for Louis II of Bavaria, sometimes referred to as Mad King Ludwig, who grew up nearby at Hohenschwangau Castle.
Begun in 1869 and left unfinished at Louis's death in 1886, the castle is the embodiment of 19th century romanticism. In a fantastical imitation of a medieval castle, Neuschwanstein is set with towers and spires and is spectacularly sited on a high point over the Pollat River gorge.
The construction of the castle was carried out according to a well thought-out plan. The castle was equipped with all kinds of technical conveniences which were very modern, if not to say revolutionary at that time. Running water on all floors. The spring which supplied the castle with excellent drinking water was located 200 meters above the castle. There were toilets equipped with automatic flushing on every floor. A warm air heating system for the entire building. A hot water system for the kitchen and the bath.
Mount Eden crater in New Zealand
The Auckland volcanic field is comprised of monogenetic volcanoes. This means it is unlikely that Mt Eden or any of the existing volcanoes will erupt again. The next eruption will probably occur in a new location. Mount Eden is a complicated scoria cone structure with 3 main craters in a row, giving an oval shape. Basaltic lava flowed in all directions to cover an area of 5.6 square kilometres.
In 1840 the cone was one of 3 boundary points marking the original land purchase for Auckland: it was named Mt Eden after George Eden (Lord Auckland). Some of Auckland's older buildings and most of the basalt kerb stones that line the city streets were constructed using dressed stone quarried from lava flows at Mt Eden. These quarries were operated for many years, but had closed down by 1928. The summit is used as a key lookout point. Mt Eden is a popular park and key stop on Auckland tourist routes. The cone complex is protected as both an archaeological and a geological feature in the Auckland City Isthmus District Plan.
Loch Ness in Scotland
Loch Ness is by far the best known of the lochs in the Great Glen, at least in part because it is the only one reputed to be home to a monster. Nessie is a creature which may or may not actually exist. Either way it has been exercising a fascination since 22 July 1933, when George Spicer and his wife, visitors from London, saw "a most extraordinary form of animal" cross the road in front of their car and enter Loch Ness. Other sightings were soon reported and the cult of the Loch Ness Monster quickly took off. It has since been suggested that the first reference to it in print was in the biography of St Columba, written in the late 600s.
The attractive village of Drumnadrochit is well worth exploring in its own right, and is home to the Loch Ness Centre, an excellent visitor attraction at which you can find out a great deal more about the story of Nessie, as well as to the nearby Nessieland.
Easter Island in the Polynesian Triangle
In central and eastern Pacific is a large triangular area where the world known "Islands of Wonders" live the happy and charming Polynesians. They inhabit the Polynesian Triangle which includes such popular groups as Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti (or Society), Cook and Marquesas Islands.
In it also are smaller and scattered groups, such as the Ellice (now Tuvalu), Phoenix, Tokelau, Austral, Tuamotu and the Equatorial Islands. There are also rarely visited islands, such as Futuna, Wallis, Niue, Pitcairn, Rapa, Mangareva, Henderson, and Easter Island. The word "Polynesia" means many islands - it comes from the Greek words poly which means many and nesos which means island.
The triangle is formed by a line drawn from Hawaii to new Zealand, bending westward to include the Ellice Islands (Tuvalu) and passing between Fiji andTonga. This north to south forms the base. Easter Island is the apex, located 4,000 miles to the east. The Marquesas lie almost to the center of the eastern line; from Easter in the south to Hawaii in the north. Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and Cook islands are surrounded by the triangle. New Zealand, the farthest south group of Polynesian Islands is where the Maoris live.
The striking unity of the languages spoken in these different islands, as well as sufficient similarities in their arts, culture, custom and tradition allow the world scientists and anthropologists to agree that the Polynesians are a racial unit. It takes a voluminous chapter to record all the interesting features of the different island groups. The remaining part of this chapter, therefore will be only a concise record of the main islands' characteristics, location and production.
Christo Redemptor in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer (Portuguese: Cristo Redentor) is a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is 39.6 metres (130 ft) tall, including its 9.5 metres (31 ft) pedestal, and 30 metres (98 ft) wide. It weighs 635 tonnes (625 long,700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931
Capitol Hill in Washington DC
Capitol Hill, aside from being a metonym for the United States Congress, is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along wide avenues. It is one of the oldest residential communities in Washington, and, with roughly 35,000 people in just under 2 square miles (5 km2), it is also one of the most densely populated.
As a geographic feature, Capitol Hill rises in the center of the District of Columbia and extends eastward. Pierre L'Enfant, as he began to develop his plan for the new Federal City in 1791, chose to locate the "Congress House" on the crest of the hill, facing the city, a site that L'Enfant characterized as a "pedestal waiting for a monument"
The Capitol Hill neighborhood today straddles two quadrants of the city, Southeast and Northeast, and a large portion is now designated as the Capitol Hill historic district. The name Capitol Hill is often used to refer to both the historic district and to the larger neighborhood around it. To the east of Capitol Hill lies the Anacostia River, to the north is the H Street corridor, to the south are the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and the Washington Navy Yard, and to the west are the National Mall and the city's central business district.
Tower of Pisa
The leaning Tower of Pisa is famous because it leans. Although it was designed to be perfectly vertical, it started to lean during construction. However, even without this famous characteristic, this building would still be one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe. It stands at 60 metres and until 1990 was leaning at about a 10 degree angle.
Tower of Pisa is more accurately referred to simply as the bell tower, or campanile. The Pisa tower is one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex in Pisa, Italy, called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli, which means Field of Miracles.
Al Aqsa in Jerusalem
Al-Aqsa Mosque (Arabic:المسجد الاقصى al-Masjid al-Aqsa, IPA: [ʔælˈmæsʒɪd ælˈʔɑqsˤɑ] ( listen), "the Farthest Mosque," ) also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The site on which the silver domed mosque sits, along with the Dome of the Rock, also referred to as al-Haram ash-Sharif or "Noble Sanctuary," is the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, the place where the Temple is generally accepted to have stood. Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site until the seventeenth month after the emigration, when God directed him to turn towards the Ka'aba.
The al-Aqsa Mosque is believed by Muslims to have been built in ancient times, 40 years after the construction of the Kaabah. In the seventh century its walls were renovated by the Rashidun caliph Umar, who also built a small building to the south.
A major rebuilding of the Mosque Compound was commissioned by the Ummayad caliph Abd al-Malik, and included the addition of the basement, gates and other structures such as the Dome of the Rock. The work was completed and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. Other ruling dynasties of the Islamic Caliphate also constructed additions within al-Aqsa Mosque’s enclave, such as its dome, facade, its minbar, minarets and the interior structure. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, they used parts of al-Aqsa Mosque as either residences, stables or churches, but its function as a mosque was restored after its recapture by Saladin. More renovations, repairs and additions were undertaken in the later centuries by the Ayyubids, Mamluks, the Supreme Muslim Council, and Jordan. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Palestinian-led Islamic waqf.
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