The world is full of magnificent architectural landmarks built by some of the greatest engineers. Man has built buildings for hundreds, if not thousands of years, but not every one of his works has survived. There are several famous and popular marvels that still stand erect and attract thousands of tourists and enthusiasts every year. Here are a few that are considered the greatest.
The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is one example of a marvel that is both fascinating to observe as well as functional. The dam is located in China and supplies 4% of the country with 22.5 GW of hydroelectric power. It is considered the world’s largest concrete structure and has a reservoir as large as Lake Superior. Although China’s government has been criticized for rampant pollution in the area, but the scale of this dam is impressive all the same.
Burj-Al Arab Hotel
The Burj-Al Arab Hotel in Dubai is built atop an artificial island, and its design matches the landscaping perfectly. The lodging facility resembles the sail of a ship and looks like a tall, giant boat as it sits very near the water. It is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, calling itself “the only seven-star hotel”. When constructed, the strong winds and seas of the surrounding island had to be taken into account, and workers took three years just to complete the base.
Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan
When one thinks of a marvel near water, the most obvious structure that comes to mind is a bridge. Over time bridge become worn and in need of repair, destruction, or replacement, but the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan is one that has withstood the test of time. Construction for the longest suspension bridge in the world began in 1988. It opened to vehicles a decade later. In addition to its heavy traffic, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge was built to withstand intense weather. It is designed to resist earthquakes of up to 8.2 in magnitude.
Lake Meade is an example of a marvel that remains as a remnant of another architectural landmark that was also artificially created. The lake was created when the Hoover Dam was constructed. The dam is no longer considered the largest concrete structure in the world, but Lake Meade still exists on its own as one of the world’s largest man-made reservoirs. While taking in the beauty of Lake Meade, you can also enjoy the grandeur of the surrounding Grand Canyon.
Ferris wheels are thought to be playthings at carnivals, but the Singapore Flyer is one serious architectural structure, the largest of its kind. The ride is so tall that participants on it can view not only Singapore but neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia. The Singapore Flyer is 42 stories high, giving it a total height of 165 meters. And visits to this Ferris wheel during the hot summer eliminate the need for the traditional iced drinks served at fairs. Each of the 28 capsules (each capable of holding 28 people) is air conditioned.
Viaduc de Millau Bridge
The Viaduc de Millau Bridge was constructed by the same engineers who designed the Eiffel Tower. It is considered the tallest bridge in the world, standing at 1,132 feet (343 meters) at its highest point. It spans 1.6 miles across the Tarn River Gorge in southern France. French President Jacques Chirac is one of the bridge’s many admirers. He called it a “magnificent example in the long and great French tradition of audacious works of art, a tradition begun at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries by the great Gustave Eiffel.”