This world that we live in is a treasure trove, of sights and sounds and tastes and smells. It is indeed a place of magical bounty, there’s so much left to see and explore. However, a handful of them remain as iconic structures that indelibly imprint our minds. Whether you are a zealous photographer out there on a photographic spree to freeze some unique sights or a voracious traveler on a globe-trotting endeavor, here are some of the top landmarks of the world that you will not mind splurging your travel money on.
Machu Picchu, Peru
In all probability, you’ve definitely heard of this 15th century Inca site. If you haven’t, then now is as good a time as any to catch up. It was recently declared as the world’s top landmark by Tripadvisor.com. A magnificent, avant-garde, ultra-urban for its time creation of the Inca Empire, the historic citadel of Macchu Picchu is situated at an elevation of 2430 meters above sea-level amidst a vibrant, lush ambience of flora and fauna. What makes it an iconic landmark is its breathtaking architecture sprawling over an expanse of 32, 592 hectares and the sense of cryptic solitude that it fills your mind with as soon as you step into this mysterious landscape between the Amazon Basin and Peruvian Andes.
Native Australians look up to this awe-inspiring mammoth sandstone site as a sacred spot. Also known as Ayer’s rock, this one is Australia’s most iconic natural wonder. And if you are an adventure enthusiast, be sure to grab the next opportunity to travel to Uluru and indulge in rock climbing before the government decrees a ban on the activity. Who knows, you may even get to witness some of the native spirits who are believed to be residing here.
Taj Mahal, India
An idyllic place for romantic souls, the Taj Mahal is no less a real treat to the eyes for just about anyone. Built entirely of pure white marble, the historic mausoleum was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a commemoration to his beloved wife after her death. It is a must-visit site if you are travelling to India. Even if you are not a die-hard romantic you ought to take a detour here to enjoy its exquisite architecture and its majestic brilliance.
The Golden Gate, San Francisco
Get ready to indulge in some willful neck pains as you bedazzle your eyes with the sight of the gargantuan Golden Gate of San Francisco. Stretching across a whopping 4200 feet across the Golden Gate Strait, the bridge connects the San Franciso Peninsula to Marin County. In its soaring height, the gold-orange hued bridge with its marvelous engineering indeed deserves a place among the world’s most iconic landmarks.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
This gorgeous cathedral in the Vatican was not built in a day, a month or a year. The Basilica, as you see today, was the creation of Renaissance genii like Bernini, Raphael and Michelangelo and only took its present shape through 100 years of artistic endeavor. Even if art is not something that excites you to get up and going, the very ambience of St. Peter’s Basilica is sure to mesmerize you. It has more than 100 tombs at St.Peter’s of which 91 are Popes. Here are 10 amazing facts about St. Peter’s Basilica.
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro’s most iconic landmark and the largest Art Deco sculpture creation, Christ the Redeemer stands with his lofty frame atop Mount Corcovado in the Sugarloaf Mountains since the 1931. In case you are not phobic to heights, you can take the cable car to reach the summit of the mountains and enjoy the panoramic views of the city down below from the elevation.
Sheikh Zayed’s Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
82 domes, thousand plus mammoth pillars, pure 24 carat hold chandeliers and a sprawling hand-woven carpet- the Sheikh Zayed’s Grand mosque indeed reflects grandeur through every inch of its surface. If you are in love with solitude, however, avoid going during the Ramzaan month for the mosque has a capacity to accommodate as many as 40,000 people. Instead, take a trip during the sunset hours and enjoy the magnificence of the mosque carved in white and gold as you feel the cool breeze swishing across your face.
National Stadium, Beijing
Did you get the chance to watch the Beijing Olympics of 2008? If you didn’t, well, you may not be missing out on the games as much as the place where they took place. The grand steel structure, the largest of its kind in the world, the National Stadium of Beijing is something worth spending your dollars to get a glimpse of; the “Bird’s Nest” as it is called. The labyrinthine design of the stadium was created by top-notch architects de Meuron and Herzog from Switzerland and looks most brilliant in its dazzling night illumination.
Gettysburg Military National Park
Get a licensed guide on the battlefield, watch a video and gear up to enlighten yourself on the myriad facts of this historic battle site which has seen some of the most gruesome battles of the Civil War. With such interesting spots to explore like the Devil’s Den, the theater and the Little Round Top, you might just find a day too short to cover the whole of the Park.
Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Who can resist the mystic charm of Khmer heritage as witnessed in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia? Thousands of tourists flock to the region to gape in admiration at the Angkor Wat Buddhist temple which happens to be the world’s largest religious structure. If you are on a leisure vacation, devote at least a couple of days here, so you can delve into the rich Khmer culture and the historic, archeological and architectural magnificence of the temples which remain unparalleled in their beauty, spirituality and cultural essence.
So what are you waiting for? Plan your itinerary and get up close and personal with each of the world’s top landmarks, targeting one every time you can get out of you normal schedule!
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