From the Great Wall of China to Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Roman Colosseum in Rome, these architectural marvels have been visited and documented repeatedly over the years. But let us question the traveler in us if these are the only impressive ones around the world? Well, the answer is of course no. The world is full of varied cultures, traditions, and religions since the Stone Age. There are many relatively unknown constructions around the world, which are no less monumental than their well-known counterparts.
1. Chan Chan, Peru.
Chan Chan is a great ruined and abandoned city, which was once the capital of the Chimera Kingdom of present-day Peru. The ruins of the city show that the buildings were made up of adobe bricks and were finished with mud repeatedly ornamented with patterned relief arabesques. The city ruins depict the presence of pyramidal temples, cemeteries, gardens, reservoirs, and symmetrically arranged rooms.
2. Derawar Fort, Pakistan.
Standing as a grand marvel of architecture amidst the desert of Cholistan, this fort was built in the 9th century under the kingship of Rai Jajja Bhati, a Hindu Rajput from Jaisalmer in India’s Rajasthan state. It is believed to be rebuilt by the Nawab of Bahawalpur, Sadeq Mohammad Khan I, who captured the fort in 1733. The fort is surrounded by 30m high bastions and the walls span over 1.5km. It is said that the fort’s red-bricked facade glows up in the summer.
3. Las Pozas, Mexico.
This extraordinary sculpted garden is surprisingly not designed by an architect but by an eccentric English poet, Edward James. This surreal garden is designed in 80acres of land with natural waterfalls and pools of water beautifully entangled with the concrete structures such as a series of temples, pagodas, bridges, pavilions, sculptures, and stairways.
4. Ark Fortress, Uzbekistan.
This stunning fortress was built around the 5th century AD. The structure served the purpose of ‘town within a town’ as well as a military structure. It housed the various royal courts that reigned the regions around Bukhara. Presently 80% of the fortress is ruined and the remaining is being used museums and a few royal quarters.
5. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey.
Archaeologists believe that the circular structures of Göbekli Tepe, with their intricately carved stones and remarkable, T-shaped pillars, are more than 12,000 years old—older than the invention of agriculture or even pottery. The intricate carving and sophisticated engineering of Göbekli Tepe are beyond imagination.
6. Leshan Giant Buddha, China.
Initiated by a monk called Hai Tong, this 71m tall statue of Buddha is located in the Sichuan province of China. This is the biggest stone carved statue of Buddha in the world. It has an amazing drainage system that keeps the inner part dry during the rains.
7. Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Malta.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground cemetery discovered in 1902, which is known to be one of the best-preserved sites that have survived since the Neolithic Age. The architectural details, painted walls, etc. along with the fragmentary remains of the entrances on the ground have remained intact within the site.
8. Chand Baori, India.
Chand Baori is one of the hidden gems of India which is known to be one of the largest and beautiful step wells of the world. Chand Baori is believed to be built back in the 8th and 9th centuries and has about 3500 narrow steps that lead to the bottom of the well that is about 20m below. The symmetrical arrangement of the steps makes it look complete and balanced as a whole.
9. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Iran.
Known to be one of the masterpieces of the Iranian Architectural style, this awe-inspiring mosque was built back in the 17th century by a prominent Architect Sheikh Bahai. The plan has a square shape on the ground floor that gradually transforms into a circle at the topmost level. This transition from square to the circle is a peculiar feature of the Sassanid architecture.
10. Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali
The Great Mosque of Djenne is the largest mud structure in the world. It is constructed out of sun-baked adobe bricks, sand, and mud-based mortar. The minarets of the mosque are decorated in such a manner that it is used as scaffolding as well for repair and maintenance work.