1. The Great Pyramids, Giza, Egypt
Clearly, these are the most monumental structures of man. At over 480 feet in height for the tallest pyramid, this most famous of archeological sites in the world has captivated and mystified tourists and scholars alike with its grandiose scale and stupefying construction. Visitors from all over the world come to marvel at these majestic and ancient structures that never fail to amaze viewers.
2. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
This ancient site may have been the site for religious rituals or ceremonies; some scholars believe it was a burial ground. Its purpose and reason for construction are still argued over.
3. The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
The eternal French symbol wasn’t always as popular as it is today in the minds of many. In fact, a number of Paris’ intellectuals of the day considered it a folly. But today, for better or for worse, it is considered as the ultimate symbol of France in the same way that the Statue of Liberty is for America.
4. The Coliseum, Rome, Italy
The site of ancient games and spectacles, this ruin of a classic stadium is perhaps the most enduring symbol of ancient Rome. The tunnels and rooms where slaves and animals were kept have now been exposed and visitors can explore most parts of this renowned structure.
5. The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Probably the most famous of all ancient sites in Greece, the Acropolis stands in the minds of many architects and classical scholars as the archetypal Greek construction, with its deteriorated columns and facade. For many people, it is the foremost symbol of Greek national identity.
6. The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
One of the most majestic mausoleums in the entire world, the Taj Mahal offers a beautiful and picturesque vision of the architecture and design of classical India. Visited by three million people a year, it is considered one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.”
7. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
This somewhat diminutive tower is more famous for its incline, due to uneven settling over six centuries than its design. Fortunately, the government of Italy has stabilized it, and visitors are able to ascend to the top safely today.
8. The Statue of Liberty, New York City, United States of America
Smaller in real life than it looks in photos, the Statue was a gift from France to celebrate America’s independence from Britain and the end of American slavery. It has become a symbol for immigrants and American political values. Visitors are able to ascend inside the statue to its crown.
9. The Forbidden City, Beijing, People’s Republic of China
This centuries-old former palace for Chines emperors covers 180 acres and is a national monument that stands adjacent to Tiananmen Square and Tiananmen Gate. It was the site for many Chinese royal coronations, weddings, funerals and palace intrigue.
10. Sagrada Familia Basilica, Barcelona, Spain
Designed by legendary Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, this cathedral-like basilica is one of the most ornate and famous in Europe (although not the largest). Its unique style differs so much from those of others in Europe that it stands alone in its glory.
11. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, United States of America
The monument of the American West, sculpted by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum, and featuring monumental busts of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt is one of America’s most enduring landmarks. Representing the independence, heroism and manifest destiny of the country, it is sited in the mountainous Black Hills region of South Dakota.
12. The Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Besides the Eiffel Tower, this famous arch, commemorating the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, is probably the City of Light’s second-most-famous landmark.
13. Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany
This world-famous gate has been the site of significant worldwide historic events such as speeches by American Presidents Reagan and Obama. For many it is a symbol of European unity and peace.
14. The Great Wall, People’s Republic of China
Viewable from space, this 3,889-mile-long wall was built as a way of keeping invaders from the empire of the Ming Dynasty Chinese in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although broken in a number of places and not very formidable structurally, it is nevertheless a symbol of a mighty empire from another era.
15. The Hollywood Sign, Hollywood, California, United States of America
Of all the monuments on this list, this is likely the cheapest and the youngest. In fact, it actually is a bastardization of its original form, which spelled out “Hollywoodland,” the name of a real estate development that once stood where the neighborhood does today.