Remarkable Man-Made Wonders of the World

By Sophia Maddox | February 21, 2024

Angkor Wat in Cambodia Continues to Capture Hearts With Its Timeless Splendor

There are over 100 million buildings in the world, an absolutely staggering number when you try to wrap your head around it. Before settling down and building structures, people were nomadic for thousands of years  - of course this was 1.8 million years ago. Mostly, these buildings were simple structures consisting of four walls and a roof. Over time, people learned better techniques and started creating more elaborate structures, that's what we're checking out today.

From that time to the present, people have constructed many remarkable man-made structures. Some are lavish homes while others have been used as seats of government as well as other purposes. Let's look at some of these remarkable man-made structures.


test article image
Getty Images

Covering over 400 acres, Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the world. The temple's design is supposed to look like Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods, and many of the towers are precisely positioned to align with the solstice at sunrise. The walls and moat symbolize the surrounding mountain ranges and ocean, while the towers represent the mountain peaks. Workers used about 7.5 million sandstone blocks weighing about 1.5 tons each to build the five original towers. They covered almost every surface, including the roof, with carvings based on Indian literature.

King Suryavarman II had workers start constructing this sandstone complex near Angkor, Cambodia, during the 12th century as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. A Hindu religious leader named Divākarapaṇḍita urged King Suryavarman II to have the structure constructed. While debatable, the complex may have been the king's funerary temple. Starting in 1177, after the Chams gained control of the area, Angkor Wat was converted to a Buddhist temple in honor of King Jayavarman VII's wife.

Giza's Iconic Great Sphinx Continues to Mesmerize

test article image
Source: Reddit

Workers cut the original Great Sphinx of Giza from bedrock in about 2542 BC, but other workers have restored this statue on the west bank of the Nile River in Giza, Egypt, with limestone. This statue has the head of a human, with many experts suggesting it represents the head of Pharaoh Khafre, while the statue's body is a mythical creature, like a lion. The Great Sphinx received that name about 25 AD.

Likely, the head of the Great Sphinx of Giza was initially formed by blowing winds hitting the bedrock. Then, workers carved the head. Later, they built a moat around the head and workers used the removed bedrock to construct the statue's body. Evidence suggests that the Great Sphinx of Giza originally had a nose chiseled off before 1737, but no one knows by who or why they would have taken the nose as a souvenir. The statue probably had a beard although it may have been added later. In 1980, a rear passage into the Great Sphinx of Giza was unearthed, suggesting the statue may have originally been intended as a funerary.