10 Must-See Architectural Wonders for Every Architect

Architecture thrives on inspiration and history is known to hide gems which guide, nurture and fuel creativity of an architectural mind. Take a walk amidst 10 inspirational and iconic architectural wonders from around the world with this article.

1. Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

This was perhaps the greatest engineering feat in the history. The construction was started as early as the 7th century BC and continued through several different Chinese dynasties and took hundreds of years to complete. It is over 21,000 km long and is made from wood, brick, and stone.

2. Great Pyramids of Giza


These are perhaps the most exemplary architectural achievements of all time. These pyramids
stand tall across the landscape of Giza and were built between 2649 – 2150 BC as the eternal resting places of three Egyptian pharaohs. Each tomb comprises three chambers. The largest pyramid is more than 145m high. Nearly 20 years were required for the teams to precisely cut, transport and assemble approximately 2.3 million limestone blocks. These blocks are fitted with such precision that there is only a 0.5 mm gap between each one of them. And to think, these architectural beauties were built without wheels, iron tools or pulleys!

3. The Red City of Petra



This amazing city was rediscovered in the early 1800s by a bold European traveler. It was built by the Nabateans and was their capital between 400 BC – 106 AD. The remarkable features of this city are that its monumental structures have been carved directly from the surrounding cliffs. Red, pink, white and grey rock veins run through the buildings. The architectural elements are a fusion of the Nabatean and Greco-Roman styles. The great urn on the top of the Treasury has bullet holes due to the firing incidences by the locals in an attempt to get the treasure inside.

4. Chand Baori, India

Chand Baori Stepwell IndiaImage Source:

This beautifully designed intricate structure may not be found in any popular ‘best architectural wonders of the ancient world’ lists but will surely captivate the architect in you given its inspirational design. This well was built in the 10th century AD and extends 100 feet below the ground, which makes it one of the world’s deepest wells. According to the local legend, the ghosts built this steep-sided well with 3,500 steps in a single night which may be a fair explanation given its precision and complexity achieved with the tools of that era. The design makes it 5-6 degrees cooler than the surface which offers the locals a respite from the scorching heat in summers.

5. The Roman Aqueducts, Italy

aqueduct park Rome

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Constructed by the ancient Romans around 145 BC, these fascinating works of architecture were used to bring in water for the Roman Empire. Their design allows the water to be siphoned, i.e., they work on gravity alone. They are one of the most impressive earliest examples of engineering given the lack of resources in that period.

6. Borobudur, Central Java, Indonesia


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This world heritage site is also the largest Buddhist temple. It was built 400 years before the construction of the famous Angkor Wat – one of the most significant religious monuments in the world. This archaeological marvel is a three-tier temple covering an area of 1900 square meters and has a pyramidal base, a cone structure at that center and a stupa at the top. It houses 504 Buddha statues and 72 open work stupas. It has 100 water gutters constructed in the shape of elephant-headed fish known as ‘Makara’.

7. Colosseum of Rome, Italy

Colosseum Rome

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It is one of the finest examples of the Roman architecture and also the largest amphitheater in the world. Commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in 70 AD, the building has an elliptical structure and stands at 159 feet. It was actively used for four centuries and was abandoned in the 5th century.

8. Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal ili 53 img 1

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This historical monument is a brilliant example of the Mughal architecture in India. It is considered an iconic symbol of love. The monument is combination of Mughal, Turkish, Islamic, Ottoman, Indian and Persian architectural styles. It was also recognized as a world heritage site by the UNESCO in 1983. White marbles, sandstones, jades, and jasper are major components of this structure. 28 different precious and semi-precious stones were used to decorate this mausoleum.

9. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu

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The ancient Inca people built this gorgeous city in the fifteenth century on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Machu Picchu. The site is spread out across 32,000 hectares and includes agricultural, religious architecture, water management and monumental civil. The city is intentionally designed so that its architecture blends seamlessly with the surrounding natural landscape. The city houses well-defined spaces for various functions. The high walls are built from stones cut with such precision that not a hair will pass from between two neighboring stones.

10. The Parthenon, Greece

Parthenon Athens

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Built around 438 BC, this breath-taking construction served as a temple at certain points in history. It is also known as the Temple of Athena. It is fascinating that all the stones used to build it were carried and laid down in their places manually. The building comprises several tapered columns and yet appears straighter than it actually is. The Parthenon’s designers have used a clever illusion in this architecture which still fools many eyes even today.

These and thousands of other architectural wonders offer inspiration to architectures across the globe. They tell intriguing stories of architectural evolution and guide architects in their quest for architectural brilliance.

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