The most beautiful historical monuments in the world

Angkor Vat in Cambodia

Angkor Vat ©Hector Garcia/Flickr

In the last post I wrote about the most beautiful landscapes on Earth, however, we must not underestimate our own race in the creation of beautiful things and the world is full of the wonderful monuments our forefathers built, carved or raised from the most beginning of civilization. We can only admire now what things the people we sometimes call barbaric or uncivilized could create for the sake of beauty, sacredness and greatness.

And again, below you may find my list of the top 5 most beautiful historical monuments, so feel free to share if you would replace something or have a completely different list. With so many beauty in this world there must be quite a few top 5 lists.

Angkor – city in the jungle

Angkor the ancient city in Cambodia

Angkor ©felixtriller./Flickr

Founded sometime in the first half of the 12th century, Angkor was the center of the Khmer Empire that lived its golden age between the 9th and 13th centuries. The ruined city – once home to a million people, now overgrown by the jungle – is located in the North-Western part of Cambodia.

The huge city complex in the middle of the South-East Asian rain forests is amazing, old gates, homes, roads and bridges and temples made of beautifully carved rocks, the testimonials of a once blooming empire,  attract millions of visitors. Good thing that the government turns a large part of the money coming in from tourists to the salvation and maintenance of the city.

Taj Mahal – ‘the crown of the place’

Front view of the Taj Mahal in India

Taj Mahal ©sayamindu/Flickr

The most beautiful memorial of eternal love ever raised by man is now on the territory of India. Built in the middle of the 17th century of white marble, decorated with texts from the Qur’an as well as flowers, leaves and other natural elements, all with an incredible amount of gem marquetry, the mausoleum is surrounded by four minarets.

The monument is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003 with more that 3 million visitors per year and the Taj Mahal is and will always remain an astonishing symbol of the undying love of a man for his wife.

Petra – wonder carved in rocks

Petra, the pink city in Jordan

Petra ©MrSnooks/Flickr

South of the Dead Sea, in the rocky deserts of Jordan lies Petra, the 2000 year old capital of the Nabateus Kingdom, a nomadic shepherd people. This amazing city is carved into the beautiful red rocks of the desert and provides a very improbable sight in the side of the cliffs. You can only get there on horseback or on foot, so seeing Petra is really quite an adventure.

A large part of the city is still waiting to be unearthed, but you can already admire a lot of the ancient city, temples, palaces and homes, as hard as it is to get there, it’s completely worth it, you’ll just stand there and watch with your mouth open. 🙂

Machu Picchu – city in the mountains

Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes

Machu Picchu ©Van Pelt/Flickr

Once a blooming city of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu (meaning ‘old peak’) lies on the southern part of the Peruvian Andes, on top of the 2450 meter high Urubamba Mountain. The city was built in the 1460s but was only inhabited for about 50 years, then the people started to abandon it and its location remained a secret until 1911, when a British archaeologist, Hiram Bingham, rediscovered it.

Machu Picchu is amazing, you see it and cannot possibly imagine how the Incas with their technology could build something like that on the top of a mountain. It is the top sight to visit if you are in South America, it is a wonder of the world and of human ingenuity – also on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Alhambra – a Moorish treasure

The Alhambra Moorish Palace complex near Granada, Spain

The Alhambra ©gune01/Flickr

The most beautiful example of Arabic architecture in Europe, the Alhambra was built in the 14th century to serve as royal palace for the Moorish rulers of Granada. The sophisticated taste of the Moorish kings and the developed Arabic architecture and decorative art created a unique treasure in Andalusia. The 12 hectares complex of palaces, pavilions, gardens, pools and baths was the cultural and economic center of the Moorish Empire.

The high outside walls are simple and lack any decoration, apart from the main gate, but the inside is breathtaking, the matriculous carvings make stone look like lace, the gardens are organized, it is perfect. I could definitely live there for a couple of months.

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