That the human being is able to build beautiful things, when he shows imagination and perseverance! Whether during prehistory, antiquity or even any period in history, magnificent monuments have always been built. Some have been to commemorate an event, others symbolize an idea, a fact, others are built in memory of a person, a group of people, or even an entire nation.
But if this diversity prevents exhaustively listing all the monuments of the world, we must admit that we can stop on an impressive list, whether sorted by country, size, or utility. This site invites you to discover some of the world's major monuments in various countries. The list is confined to that of the monuments created by the human being, which in fact exclude natural wonders such as Victoria Falls, the Aurora Borealis or Lake Como, to name but a few. It is of course brought to be expanded in time.
List of monuments of the world
Assuming that it is impossible to define an ultimate list, here is an arbitrary list of some monuments of the world.
What is a monument?
If we refer to the dictionary, a monument can have two definitions:
Works of architecture, sculpture, or inscription intended to perpetuate the memory of a man or a remarkable event
Architectural work remarkable from an aesthetic or historical point of view
There is no notion of size, popularity or location. A monument is therefore in the center of a village, in a cemetery or the emblem of a nation, we use the same word to designate all these buildings. There are millions of monuments in the world, maybe even billions.
Some notions around monuments ...
Of course, not all of them have the same importance, they do not have the same symbolic significance. This part of the site which wants to study the location of the main monuments of the world, is therefore voluntarily limited to a relatively short list corresponding to the most emblematic monuments of the world. To be included therein a monument must be known internationally, at least by the population of a large number of countries and have a strong representative scope. At the mention of his name one must immediately visualize images of the country that hosts it, or at least know its geographical and historical context. But beyond this short definition one can wonder if certain architectural elements are monuments or not. Starting with places of worship, such as cathedrals or mosques. If we follow the second definition, we can answer yes, and that is what is done in this site since such buildings are mentioned as monuments. But if you go there, remarkable buildings are also monuments: The Burj Khalifa tower, in Dubai, is indeed remarkable from an aesthetic point of view, just like the Empire State building, in New York, which is from a historical point of view as well as anesthetic. But this site voluntarily rejects buildings and other skyscrapers. But not the works of art like the bridges (the viaduct of Garabit or the Golden Gate are indeed monuments), provided that they respect this notion of aesthetics or history. The over 100-kilometer viaduct connecting Miami to the Keys, Florida, is an architectural feat, but it is neither of historical interest nor aesthetic. And we come to another notion, that of the value of aesthetics over time.
Indeed, monuments sometimes acquire this status only after their construction, sometimes well after. Thus the Eiffel Tower was violently rejected by the French artists of the late nineteenth century, seeing only a huge iron monster disfiguring Paris. In the same way, the aesthetics of the Sydney Bridge only appeared with the construction of the city's opera house, both of them forming an aesthetic ensemble in the bay. In itself, the bridge is not so beautiful, but it can now be considered a monument in itself because it is part of a whole making it beautiful.
Is a museum a monument? Here again, depending on the definition, everything depends on the aesthetics or history of the museum. The Louvre in Paris, or the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, are obviously monuments, they have not only history in their favor, but also aesthetics. But the Egyptian museum in Cairo does not fall into this category, it has no historical precedence or aesthetic quality. The question arises for other great museums of the world, well known, occupying a historic building but of lesser interest. This is the case of the British museum for example, which could be part of the world's monuments, but whose other monuments in London are shadows. then remain the geographical places. One can ask the question of public places like Times Square, in New York, or are during London that is Picadilly circus. Can we consider that these are monuments? The answer is no, for this site, because one would go dangerously towards a harmful direction that would consider any popular avenue like a monument. However, some city squares are well known and meet the criteria of aesthetics and history, they are indeed monuments. We are talking about the Red Square in Moscow or Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
As for natural sites, they can not be considered monuments because they are not architectural works. They become so if the man modifies the site so as to shape it, but most cases can not be considered as monuments. This is the case of the Niagara Falls for example, or those of Iguazu or cataracts of the Nile. We could also mention the great Canyon, in the United States, or Ayers Rock, the rock so special of the Australian desert. But none of these sites meet the definition of a monument.
What are the criteria for defining the list of world monuments?
The answer is not self-evident since it depends on everyone, especially their cultural environment. Some countries are more ego-centric, it means that the population tends to ignore external civilizations, and therefore the inhabitants will only mention the monuments of the countries they occupy. This is the case of Russians, for example. Other civilizations are more open. Westerners tend to favor monuments that are geographically close to them, but not only. Thus a monument will be all the more quoted as being close, but also representing the country where it is. Thus a monument like the Taj Mahal, symbol of India, will often be cited by the Europeans as one of the main monuments of the world while it is removed from them. While the red fort of Agra, equally known to the people of India, will be totally ignored.
Americans, for their part, have a partial view of the world that depends on the relationships they have built over time with their country. This is called their zone of influence, an area that can be found everywhere in the world but which is particularly important in the case of Uncle Sam's country. Asian civilizations are quite heterogeneous, with peoples particularly open to the world and therefore to the knowledge of emblematic monuments, and others very closed. There is a political will to open up, or, on the contrary, to close the country to the neighbors and beyond to the rest of the planet.
That said, on what criteria can we base ourselves to know the most famous monuments of the world, all countries combined?
In fact, the only solution would be to operate by sampling, taking in each country a representative panel of inhabitants from different social backgrounds. It would be necessary for the panel of a country to be proportional in number to the other countries, with few representatives for small countries and a large number for a large one. And that for all countries. Suffice to say that the task is impossible ... So we must find another solution. And honestly there is not much, because this question is mainly to establish the worldview of each population, since monuments are only emblems of countries. We can not really establish a list of the most famous monuments in the world. at most, it can be done for a given country, to see an enlarged geographical area, as for example the European countries. And there is a much simpler way to find this list: Build on the many existing lists and make a synthesis. Thus, in Europe, the vision of the main monuments of the world is rather that of the emblems of each country, with countries more representative than others. Here are the symbolic monuments of the countries forming a list of the principal monuments of the world.
- Germany: Brandenburg Gate
- Belgium: Menneken pis
- Bosnia: Old Bridge of Mostar
- Denmark: The little mermaid
- Spain: Alhambra
- France: Eiffel Tower
- United Kingdom: Tower bridge
- Greece: Acropolis
- Italy: Tower of Pisa
- Portugal: Belem Tower
Outside the borders of Europe we could decree the following list:
- Australia: Sydney Opera House
- Brazil: Christ the Redeemer of Rio
- Chile: Statues of Easter Island
- China: Great Wall
- Ivory Coast: Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Yamoussoukro
- Egypt: Pyramid of Cheops
- United States: Statue of Liberty
- India: Taj Mahal
- Israel: Wailing Wall
- Jordan: City of Petra
- Mongolia: Statue of Genghis Khan
- Peru: Machu Piccu
- Russia: The Kremlin
- Senegal: African Renaissance Monument
- Thailand: Reclining Buddha Temple
Note that in Italy, the Coliseum or the fountain of Treviso follows the tower of Pisa. That's Italy! Many beautiful things to see! China has the same problem, with a dispute between the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City of Beijing, which of these two monuments is the best known. When the countries not mentioned, it is not that they do not have monuments, it's just that if we must give an emblem to the country, we would not be based on a monument, but rather on a city , a place, or anything else. For example the Netherlands is rather represented by a mill, but there is not a particular mill that would be the emblem of the Netherlands.
This list will always have flaws, it will always ignore an important monument, but if we must limit ourselves to one per country, and only for the most famous monuments, it is not so far from that vision that have the Europeans the main monuments of the world.
The popularity of monuments by number of visitors
There is another way to list the main monuments of the world: One can rely on the number of visitors. This method has the disadvantage of not taking into account the inaccessible monuments, but especially it is biased by the fact that two monuments are not equal in their capacity to welcome tourists. Nothing to see between the Eiffel Tower, easily accessible in the heart of Paris, and the monumental statues of the island of Easter, hard to reach, even for visitors from South America. A third factor of inequality between monuments of the world, in terms of visiting capacity: The structure of the monument limits some of them to a maximum capacity. If the Machu Piccu site can accommodate thousands of people, the Tower Bridge in London has a reduced capacity of a few hundred people maximum. when at Torre de Belem, in Portugal, it is impossible to enter more than 120, which forms rows of sometimes endless visitors! And finally, the most discriminating criterion in terms of the number of visits per monument is, above all, free access. Thus the most visited monuments in the world are free, which is normal since they welcome not only tourists, but also the inhabitants of the city where they are located, resulting in an imbalance with paying monuments.
That said, if you want to know the most visited monuments in the world, here is the list.
- Senso-ji Temple, Tokyo (30,000,000 visitors, paying)
- The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico (20,000,000 visitors, free)
- The Forbidden City of Beijing (15,000,000 visitors, paying) The Golden Gate (15,000,000 visitors, paying)
- Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris (13,650,000 visitors, free)
- St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (11,000,000 visitors, free)
- The Louvre Museum, Paris (9,300,000 visitors, paying)
- Pyramid of Kheops (10,000,000 visitors, paying)
- The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Paris (10,500,000 visitors, free)
- The Great Wall of China (9,000,000 visitors, free)
- The Sydney Opera House (8,200,000 visitors, free)
- The Royal Palace of Bangkok (8,000,000, paying)
- Lincoln Memorial, Washington (8,000,000 visitors, free)
- The Palace of Versailles (7,500,000 visitors, paying)
- Eiffel Tower, Paris (7,000,000 visitors, paying)
- Taj Mahal, Agra (7,000,000 visitors, paying)
- Colosseum, Rome (6,000,000 visitors, free)
- Palace of Versailles (5 900 000 visitors, paying)
- Statue of Liberty, New York (4,000,000 visitors, paying)
- Alhambra, Granada (3,000,000 visitors, paying)
- Tower of London (2,500,000 visitors, paying)
- The Arc de Triomphe (1,800,000 visitors, paying)
- The Mont Saint-Michel abbey (1,200,000 visitors, paying)
- The Pont du Gard (1 201 000 visitors, paying)
- Chateau de Chenonceau (875 000 visitors, paying)
- Chateau de Chambord (750 000 visitors, paying)
- Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro (600,000 visitors, paying)