Several of the most incredible sites in the world were created during the medieval period – a period in time that did not even really exist in word until later in the 16th century. These lists, created much later in history, often feature structures that were built before but became popular during medieval times.
Many of the lists depicting medieval wonders don’t limit themselves to seven structures – many feature as much as 10 or more. Researchers have studied several of these lists and have decided that the following seven structures were the most popular during medieval times.
In the county of Wiltshire in England you’ll find the mysterious Stonehenge monument. The monument itself is comprised of a series of large stones that stand in formation around a series of earthworks, or strange changes in the formation of the earth itself.
The monuments themselves have been dated as far back as 2,500 BC. The entire site, however, is believed to have once been used as an ancient burial ground and remains found there have been dated even further – possibly as far back as 3,000 BC. Regardless, the site is one of the most popular and most visited in England today.
The Colosseum, found at the center of Rome in Italy, is yet another spectacularly popular tourist site. The elliptically shaped amphitheater was the largest ever built during the course of the Roman Empire and its construction was completed around 72 AD.
The Colosseum had several distinct uses. The amphitheater was used to reenact famous battles, to put on dramatic performances based on mythological stories, and to host gladiatorial games. The theater was also the site of numerous executions, animal hunts, and workshops. More than 500,000 individuals and millions of animals died during the events held in this historic establishment.
5. Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa
The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa can be found in Alexandria, Egypt. This incredible historic archaeological site features tombs, statues, and funeral objects currently dating as early as 2nd century AD.
The catacombs weren’t discovered until the year 1900 when a donkey fell into one of the access shafts that had been created to reach the burial chambers. It is believed that the catacombs were originally intended to house the remains of only one family but were expanded over time to serve as a mass burial ground.
4. The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China was built over an extended period of time ranging between 5th century BC and the 16th century AD. The wall stretches over 4,000 miles and was originally built to protect the northern borders from attacks from Xiongnu.
The wall was built in sections, the most famous of which was built around 206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese Emperor. Historic documents and archaeological estimates predict that around 3 million Chinese died during the construction of the entire wall. New sections of the wall have recently been uncovered.
3. Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
The Porcelain Tower can be found along the southern shores of the Yangtze River in Nanjing, China. The tower itself was actually a large pagoda with an octagon shaped base measuring around 97 feet in diameter. When it was first built, the tower was one of China’s largest buildings.
Sadly, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was destroyed during the Taiping rebellion of the 19th century. The tower, which was originally made of white porcelain bricks, is currently under reconstruction.
2. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is a spectacularly designed museum found in Istanbul, Turkey. The museum, first inaugurated in 360 AD, served as a patriarchal basilica and was later transformed into a mosque.
Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world until 1520, when the Seville Cathedral was completed. The building that stands today was completed around 537 AD at the request of Emperor Justinian from the Byzantine era. The architecture and artwork within makes Hagia Sophia one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and it was often used as a guide for the construction of similar landmarks.
1. Leaning Tower of Pisa
The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is actually a bell tower. The freestanding tower is part of the main cathedral in the Italian city of Pisa and is the oldest structure found in Cathedral Square.
The designers of the tower did not intend for it to lean. The foundation was poorly constructed and was set in loose soil, contributing to a shift that began right after construction of the tower began. The tower used to learn at an angle of 5.5 degrees but restoration efforts during the late 1990’s corrected the lean to only 3.99 degrees.
Each of these incredible monuments represents an important part of the history of our developing world. They impact not only their own individual regions, but the entire globe. Make sure you add at least one or two of these sites to your summer travel itinerary. You won’t regret the extra trip!