Five unbelievable ancient construction projects
Last month we did an article on the most expensive construction projects ever – these were buildings and spaces that defied expectations, absolutely redefining our understanding of our limits and bringing to light how much really is possible within the world of construction. However, all five of our phenomenal examples were from our time, which got us at Fix Radio thinking. Because, in truth there are some extremely unreliable construction projects out there which frankly bugger belief. So here is a list of five of the most awesome construction projects that somehow were built even before the invention of modern machinery. Lord knows how.
1) The Great Wall of China
It’s visible from space and the word “great” doesn’t really do this justice to be perfectly honest. Built in the 3rd century BC by Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang to defend his land against foreign conquest (FYI for any military history buffs, not that any of us at Fix Radio are so inclined, you must check out ancient Chinese history, those guys knew how to fight). Anyway, somehow without the use of any of our sophisticated trickery he (well his slaves, probably) built a wall that covered 4,000 miles. Now that is impressive.
2) The Parthenon
Still standing today, if you ever find yourself in Athens we would recommend a visit to the Parthenon. Recently voted by a whole slew of architects as the most beautiful building in the world and with good reason, it really is an ancient marvel. Built in dedication of the goddess Athena, the Parthenon measures an outstanding 30.88 metres by 69.5 metres and is made of Pentelic marble. It was built in 438 BC and boasts eight magnificent columns that will literally take your breath away. As if that wasn’t enough, some pretty sophisticated architectural techniques were used to make this temple. This includes leaning the column ever so slightly inwards to give the illusion of straight lines when viewed from a distance as well as building four corner columns to be slightly fatter than the others to make the temple seem perfectly straight. Not too shabby.
We felt somewhat morally obligated to include this one – mainly because it is the only one on our list to come from England. Stonehenge has been the subject of much head scratching and tutting over the generations – namely of how, and more importantly, why on earth our ancient ancestors felt the impulsion to drag heavy rocks into some form of bizarre pattern understood only by themselves. According to a recent article it seems that Stonehenge was once part of a complicated network of structures, but regardless of the cause you’ve got to applaud the determination. That’s a lot of stone.
4) The Great Pyramid of Giza
Built in 2560 BC, the Great Pyramid is part of a series of pyramids built for the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh Khufu (nope, doesn’t mean anything to us either – but basically a long time before Alexandra and Cleopatra). Taking an impressive 20 years to build (unsurprising if their bureaucracy was anything like ours) and involving 20,000 workers, it was constructed out of stone blocks, each one weighing an astonishing 2 tons. No one really knows how the Egyptians did it, but our hats go off to them.
5) The Colosseum
Last, but by no means least is the Colosseum. Measuring 620 by 513 feet the Colosseum is the largest of its kind. Made of stone and concrete and boasting three stories of arched entries, it really is spectacular. Probably best not to dwell on the unspeakable brutality that went on inside its doors and just marvel at how ruddy impressive it is…
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