The Stories Behind Famous Monuments

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The most famous and awe-inspiring monuments of the world are recognized by many and flocked to by countless tourists. They are more than statues or pieces of art; They are symbols of triumph and tragedy that resonate deeply with those who know their story. You cannot fully appreciate the heart and soul of a monument until you know its origins. Have you ever wondered about the stories behind some of the world's most iconic monuments? Here is a guide to some of the most notable structures on the planet.


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Famous Monuments They are the most magnificent and emblematic monuments around the world without question. Instantly recognizable, many monuments have become national treasures and symbolize the country itself to the rest of the world. Out each famous monument has a story behind its creation, giving each building a soul, and Identity. So here are some facts about some of these famous structures that may have slipped through the cracks during the tour! Colossus of Rhodes One of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, the Colossus of Rhodes was built from parts of a structure meant to destroy Rhodes. Used by Demetrius I of Macedon, the Helepolis was the largest siege engine ever constructed in the ancient world: a huge, rolling fortress about 13 stories tall and around 180 tons. The name Helepolis literally means destroyer of cities,’ and was driven by Demetrius, who had the nickname "Poliorcetes", which meant “The Besieger” in ancient Greek. History offers 2 possible reasons for Helepolis failure but either way, the so-called ‘Destroyer of Cities' was abandoned, having never destroyed a city. The Rhodians tore it down and used parts of it to build the Colossus at Rhodes. The Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal in India was built as a mausoleum for the third wife of Shah Jahan, who was then the Mughal Emperor. The principal mausoleum was started in 1632, 1 year after Mumtaz Mahal’s death and completed in 1648; the surrounding buildings and garden were finished 5 years later. When Shah Jahan was deposed by his son and imprisoned, he was given a view of the Taj Mahal. It also became his tomb after his death in 1666 buried in the mausoleum next to his beloved wife. A dual pricing system is in place, with a significantly lower entrance fee for Indian citizens than for foreigners. The Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty was a joint venture by France and America: France financed the statue, and America would provide the pedestal and site. By 1885, work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. It took workers working ten hour days, seven days a week for nine years to complete. The structural engineer was the same designer of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel. Frederic Auguste Bartholi, the statues sculptor, used his mother as inspiration for the Lady Liberty’s face and his wife as the inspiration for the statue’s body. The Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1899 World Far and marked the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it was the worlds tallest structure up until l930. Built in 1889, the tower was to be dismantled in 1909, but it was very useful for communication purposes and was allowed to stay. More than 200,000,000 people have visited the tower since its construction in 1889. The tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world The Grand Canyon In the Grand Canyon lives 75 different species of mammal, 50 species of replies, 25 species of fish, and 300 species of bird. The entire Grand Canyon is essentially tilted: the northern rim is 1200 ft higher than the southern rim. Its base is about 1/3 of the earth’s age. The floor of the Grand Canyon contains fossil footprints of over 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, yet no fossilized reptile bones or teeth have ever been uncovered. It attracts about five million visitors per year, 83% of which were from the United States. Great Wall of China. Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from the moon with the naked eye - it would be like trying to see a hair from 2 miles away. The longest man-made structure in the world, the wall is a discontinuous network of wall segments built by various dynasties to protect China's northern boundary. During its construction, the Great Wall was called "the longest cemetery on earth", costing a reported 1,000,000+ lives. In 2004, there were over 41.8 million foreign visitors to the Great Wall of China. Leaning Tower of Pisa The Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually curved as the upper floors have one side taller than the other to compensate for the tilt. It began to "lean" because of a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. It took 177 years to complete as the Republic of Pisa was continually engaged in battle with Genoa, Lucca, and Florence. During WWII, the Allies discovered the Nazis were using the tower as an observation post. A US Army sergeant's decision not to call in artillery strike kept the tower from being destroyed. In May 2008, after removing another 70 metric tons of earth, engineers announced the Tower had been stabilized for the first time in its history and would be stable for at least 200 years. Great Pyramid of Giza The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only one remaining of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Built around 2500 BCE as a tomb for Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, it was the tallest structure on Earth for over 43 centuries, until the 19th century. Egyptians actually used independent contractors, not aliens. The pyramidal shape was ideally-suited for a system of ramps. What an astounding coincidence that the shape of the building happened to also be the easiest possible way to move the stones up that building! Though the chemical composition of the mortar used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza is known, it could not be re-produced using the present techniques. The Colosseum About 3.9 million people visit the Colosseum annually. Its night time illumination is changed from white to gold each time a death sentence is commuted a country/jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty. It also still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church: each Good Friday, the Pope leads a torchlit Way of the Cross procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum. Mount Rushmore 90% of the "carving" at Mt. Rushmore was done by dynamite, blasting about 450,000 tons of fine-grain granite from the mountain. Originally on George Washington’s right, Thomas Jefferson was dynamited off after 18 months of work and moved to the left of Washington. Gutzon Borglum, the memorial’s sculptor, had connections to the Ku Klux Klan: he had spent previous years among the Ku Klux Klan leaders of Georgia, devoting years to a Confederate commemorative carving at Stone Mountain, which was financed in part by the Klan. Information provided by

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