A monument is actually a structure which is either built specifically to pay tribute to a person or any important event or that has a significance from a social group as a reminder to prehistoric era or as a cultural heritage, or just as an epitome of a bygone architecture.
Everyone knows some of the most popular cultural monuments worldwide. Here, you will find some of the monuments across the world that not everyone knows. All of these cultural icons are known to be the symbol that has several meanings. It may exude an area, an epoch, a culture, a belief, a city or a country. Here are the top 10 most popular cultural monuments worldwide.
10. Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Located in Istanbul (the Ottoman Empire capital (1453-1923) and Turkey’s largest city), the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a prehistoric mosque which is also called as the Blue Mosque as its walls are well decorated with blue tiles. It was built during the period of Ahmed I from 1609 to 1616. Like other mosques, it also consists of a madarsa, a tomb of its founder, and a hospice. But it is still being used as a mosque and is a well known tourist destination.
9. The Statue of Liberty
Enlightening the World, the Statue of Liberty is a living symbol of friendship from the citizens of France to the citizens of the US. It acts as a universal symbol of democracy and freedom. Built on October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was designated in 1924 as a National Monument and restored on July 4, 1986 for her centennial.
8. The National Chiang Kai-shek
Located in Taipei, ROC (Republic of China), the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a well known tourist landmark, monument, and tourist paradise, built to pay tribute to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, former President (ROC). Covered by a park, the monument stands beautifully at the eastern part of Memorial Hall Square. The monument is framed well on the south and north by the National Concert Hall and National Theater.
7. The Acropolis Hill
Also known as the “Sacred Rock” of Athens, the Acropolis Hill is the most momentous tourist attraction of the city and it constitutes among the most recognized monuments worldwide. It is truly the most surprising reference point in ancient Greek culture along with the symbol of Athens. It represents the artistic development highest point in 5th century BC. During the Golden Age of Perikles, it represents the prehistoric Greek civilization perfectly and its ground has some of the architectural masterpieces.
6. The Potala Palace
Located in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, in China, The Potala Palace is named after a mythical abode of Avalokitesvara or Chenresig, Mt. Potalaka. It was the major residence for the Dalai Lama until 1959 Tibetan upsprings when Dalai Lama 14 moved to Dharamshala, India.
The Fifth Great Dalai Lama, Lozang Gyatso, built the Potala Palace in the year 1645 after Konchog Chophel (died in 1646), one of the spiritual advisors for him, pointed the site as the ideal seat of government, as it is located between Sera and Drepung monasteries, as well as the old Lhasa city. It may also superimpose the remains of Red or White Palace, the earlier fortress, built in 637 by Songtsen Gampo, on the site. Potala Palace currently is a museum.
5. Angkor Thom
The Great Angkor City, Angkor Thom is a Big Angkor. It is a moated and walled city spread over 3 sq. km and the last capital in the Angkorian Empire. Jayavarman VII started building a massive capital, Angkor Thom across the Angkorian Capital as his new capital, after recapturing it from the Cham invaders in the year 1181. He constructed a grand enclosed city with structures like Phimeanakas and Baphuon around them. The city has 5 entrance gates. One gate leads to one cardinal point and victory gate leads to the Royal Palace.
4. The Egyptian Pyramids
They are the ancient triangular-shaped masonries built in Egypt. As of 2008, up to 138 pyramids are found and most of them were erected as the tombs for the pharaohs of the country and the consorts during the Middle and Old Kingdom periods. These are some of the ancient cultural monuments. The oldest Egyptian pyramids are found northwest of Memphis, Saqqara.
3. The Great Wall of China
It is a series of fortifications made of brick, stone, wood, tamped earth, and various other materials. It is built from the east to west line over the pre-historic northern borders of China to protect the empire as well as its prototypical states. Most of the walls were erected around 7th century BC and later joined and build together stronger, bigger, and unified. The wall built by Qin Shi Huang, first Emperor in China, from 220 to 206 BC, is the most popular. Since then, the Great Walls has been maintained, rebuilt, and enhanced during the Ming Dynasty.
2. The Taj Mahal
Also known as the Crown of Palaces, the Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a mausoleum made of white marble in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It is located at the banks of River Yamuna. The Taj is located right from Mihman Khana. These buildings are virtually identical on both sides.
The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor, as a memorial for Mumtaz Mahal, his third wife. It is widely regarded as the “Jewel of Muslim Art in India” and among the universally acclaimed masterpieces in the world. It is stretched over 552 Acres (221 hectare). It consists of the Taj Mahal spread over 38 hectares and conserved gardens over 183 hectares. It is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
1. Masjid al-Haram – The Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped dome located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is also Islam’s most sacred site. It is the most popular and oldest cultural monument in the world. According to the Quran, the Kaaba was built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ishmael, who settled in Arabia. It has a mosque, the Masjid al-Haraam. Muslims across the world pray while facing the Kaaba.
Every Muslim is required to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime, as per one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Pilgrims have to walk at least 7 times across the Kaaba in several parts of the Hajj in a counter-clockwise position. Pilgrims also perform the Tawaf circumambulation during the Umrah pilgrimage. It is believed that over 6 million pilgrims gather here every year to rotate around the building at the same time.