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Top 10 Biggest Man-Made Structures to See Before You Die

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey
Thanks to Getty Images for the pictures and videos! Size isn’t everything . . . but it definitely counts for something. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 biggest man-made structures to see before you die. For this list, we're looking at skyscrapers, bridges, fortifications and other structures that are the tallest, longest, or largest of their kind, and open to sightseers.
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Top 10 Biggest Man-Made Structures to See Before You Die


Size isn’t everything . . . but it definitely counts for something. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 biggest man-made structures to see before you die. For this list, we're looking at skyscrapers, bridges, fortifications and other structures that are the tallest, longest, or largest of their kind, and open to sightseers.


#10: Prague Castle

Czech Republic

High up on the hilltop across from Prague’s Old Town, the palaces, halls, and spires of the world’s largest ancient castle dominate the skyline. For a thousand years, grandiose Prague Castle has been the seat of power for monarchs, emperors, and presidents. Sprawled out over 750,000 square feet - the size of seven football fields - the monumental complex comprises courtyards, churches, cobblestone streets, and lavish royal residences built in a rich range of architectural styles. Come for the grandeur and the history - and linger for the magical views over the city.



#9: Washington Monument

USA

Architect Robert Mills’ original design for the Washington Monument was much more elaborate.

A grand circular colonnade featuring a statue of George Washington driving a six-horse chariot would hold aloft a soaring Egyptian-style obelisk. In the end, due to budget constraints, the Washington National Monument society opted for simplicity - just the stone column, but it’s arguably even more impactful, standing bold and alone on on a rise in National Mall. Until 1889, it was the tallest structure in the world, and remains the world’s tallest monumental column today.



#8: The Louvre

France

The world’s largest museum is a time capsule wrapped in centuries of history. Begun as a fortress in the 12th century, the Louvre was converted into a royal residence in the 14th and 15th, then into a museum after the French Revolution. Its spectacular glass pyramid, completed in 1989, has become an iconic Parisian landmark. But of course the museum’s collection is the real draw: it’s 783,000 square feet of gallery area display 38,000 objects across eight curatorial departments, with 403 rooms and 14.5 kilometres of galleries and hallways. Phew. It’s a must-see . . . although good luck seeing it all.



#7: Petronas Towers

Malaysia

Looking up at these stainless steel giants is enough to awe anyone. And the view from their double-decker skybridge is just as jaw-dropping. The Petronas Towers dwarf the city around them, their 88 stories tapering up to a height of 1483 feet. Completed in 1998, the shimmering superstructures are the tallest twin towers in the world, with a unique design that blends postmodern architecture and Islamic motifs. It’s a marvel to some . . . and a challenge to others, such as French climber Alain “Spiderman” Robert, who in September 2009 reached the top without safety equipment. Fortunately for the rest of us, the towers also impressive just from the ground.



#6. Hongyagu Glass Bridge

China

Have a head for heights? This next one’s for you. Otherwise you . . . might want to close your eyes. Hongyagu Bridge in China’s Hebei Province is the longest glass-bottom bridge in the world, spanning 1600 feet over a 715 foot drop. Opened in 2017, it affords visitors a magnificent bird’s eye view of the valley below. Once you’ve braved Hongyagu Glass Bridge, you could be ready for the world’s highest - Zhangjiajie Bridge in Hunan, over a river that winds like a thin ribbon 984 feet below. And after those, nearby and even more terrifying Coiled Dragon Cliff skywalk, wrapped around Tianmen Mountain.





#5: Burj Khalifa

United Arab Emirates

The silver spire of the Burj Khalifa strains toward heaven, the ultimate expression of man’s ambition. Rising up over the empty desert, the gigantic tower defies gravity at a staggering 2,717 feet high - more than 644 feet higher than its closest rival, Shanghai Tower in China. Opened in 2010, the colossal, 163-story structure has become a quintessential symbol of Dubai, with a design inspired by Islamic architecture and the desert flower Hymenocallis. While the choreographed fountain at its base delights passersby, it’s the dizzying observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors that leave visitors breathless - providing panoramic views stretching all the way to the distant shores of Iran.



#4: St. Peter's Basilica

Vatican City

A palpable sense of awe permeates the cavernous nave of the world’s largest church. Built over the tomb of Jesus’ apostle Saint Peter (according to tradition), the basilica is the heart of the Catholic faith, and an exemplar of Renaissance architecture - renowned in particular for Michaelangelo’s mesmerizing dome, as well as his haunting “Pieta”. In the centre of the nave, reaching up toward the dome, are the twisted columns of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Baroque baldachin around the papal altar. For pilgrims and sightseers alike, it’s a place of fascination and wonder.



#3: Angkor Wat

Cambodia

The world’s largest religious monument is a stunning architectural achievement that’s endured for almost a thousand years. Begun by Khmer king Suryavarman II in the 12th century, Angkor Wat was originally dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu, but soon became a centre of Buddhist worship instead. Its 2.2 mile long outer wall encloses an area of 203 acres, within a 402 acre site bordered by a moat 620 feet wide. But it’s the harmonious design, lotus-bud towers, and intricate bas-relief friezes that give the structure its sense of grandeur and devotion.



#2: The Great Wall

China

China’s First Emperor conquered and united China’s warring states, but nomadic tribes continued to raid the nascent Empire’s northern frontier. To guard against them, Emperor Qin had individual fortifications connected into one long barrier of rammed earth. Thus was the Great Wall born, almost two thousand years ago. Over centuries and dynasties, it was repaired and expanded, and eventually rebuilt in brick and stone. Contrary to popular belief, the wall isn’t visible from the Moon - but at an astounding 13,171 miles, it’s the world’s longest structure, and one of the most impressive.






Before we reveal the identity of our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:






Forbidden City, China

Largest Palace Complex



Château de Versailles, France

Largest Royal Domain



#1: Great Pyramid of Giza

Egypt

For over four and a half thousand years, the world’s tallest tomb has towered over the desert sands west of the Nile. Built from more than two million stone blocks, Pharaoh Khufu’s Pyramid stands 481 feet high, and remained the tallest man-made structure for 3,800 years. Although its smooth limestone casing has eroded, its bare, stepped core is the real marvel, an astonishing feat of ancient engineering that archaeologists continue to argue over today. While it might not be the world’s largest tomb - a title often claimed for the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor of China - it is arguably the world’s most scenic and spectacular.

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