There are famous landmarks worldwide that were built to honor everything from beloved rulers to religious cults. And while most of these famous landmarks have a well known history, some are so ancient that they still remain a mystery despite being studied by countless scientists and historians. The “Seven Wonders of the World” has historically been a listing of the famous landmarks known to the Ancient Greeks. Since then, numerous updated lists have been developed, including a real standout created over a decade ago by the American Society of Civil Engineers of modern man-made marvels. But what ever list you look at, there are some real standout famous landmarks that if you woke-up after a rough night and found yourself staring at one of them, you’d know exactly what part of the world you ended up in.
Statue of Liberty. More than a century after France gave this this 151-foot copper sculpture towers more than 305 feet above New York City Harbor at the Hudson River drawing three million–plus visitors each year to climb the 171 steps to the observation tower of this famous copper landmark. What is the largest metal sculpture in the world, Lady Liberty took 15 years to build in Paris before it was finished in 1884. Some of the best views of the Statue can be had near 10th Avenue Square at the High Line.
Easter Island. A mysterious series of stone carvings only found on the tiny, 62 square-mile island of Rapa Nui – or Easter Island – in the eastern part of Polynesia have baffled scientists since they were discovered in 1722. Called Moai, these famous landmarks are kind of creepy with their huge exaggerated oversized human heads with broad noses. The best guess is that they were carved from the Island’s volcanic rock sometime between 1250 and 1500 AD and originally totaled over 800 individual statues. Today, only 394 of these iconic landmarks still stand, some rising over 30 feet and weighing over 70 tons.
Eiffel Tower. French engineer Alexandre Gustave finished the famous 984-foot open-latticed wrought iron landmark just in time to wow visitors of the 1889 World Expo in Paris. Interestingly, most Parisians at the time hated the idea of what is now a French icon. When the Expo was finished, Gustave first used the tower to conduct experiments in the new science of aerodynamics and later went on to create the first aerodynamics laboratory in 1912.
Stonehenge. Stonehenge is probably the world’s most famous landmark. Located in the British countryside and thought to date back to around 2500 BC, this mysterious landmark consist of mammoth chunks of rock precariously piled on top of each other and surrounded by burial mounds. What remains today is believed to actually be only a small relic of a much larger formation. Since there is no written record left by those who built the landmark, scientists can only guess what exactly it is. And that has led to speculation that this famous landmark was built eons ago by aliens or some long dead technologically human society.
The Great Sphinx of Giza. These enormous stone statues with the body of a lion and the head of a human can be found around the world, but the most famous landmark is the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt. Carved from one piece of rock, this 240-foot long, 20-foot wide, and 66-foot tall icon is the largest stone monument in the world. The Great Sphinx of Giza seems to guard the pyramid of the pharaoh Khafra, and archeologists think the Sphinx’s face is that of the pharaoh’s. Even though it is one of the most famous landmarks and one of the original “Seven Wonders of the World,” it’s still a mystery as to why or when it was built. If it was built by Khafra, then it dates back to roughly 2500 BC, though some scientists believe it’s much older.