Manmade Wonders

One of our themes this summer is ‘Around the World’.  Let’s take a journey and visit some of the most famous sites around the world.

The first has to be from our own country!

The Taj Mahal

When we talk about a manmade wonder in India, we have to start with the Taj Mahal, Agra. Behind the history of the Taj Mahal is a story of love. It was made by Emperor Shah Jahan in the loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is a big mausoleum made of stunning white marble, on the banks of the River Yamuna.

Taj Mahal is known for the amazing engravings and complex stone-inlay work in the marble.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

The Great Wall of China

The next wonder we visit is in the neighbouring country of China. Situated close to its capital, Beijing, this is truly a great wonder. Though we cannot see the wall from space through a naked eye, we can see it using special cameras and lenses. This UNESCO World Heritage site is actually not one wall but a collection of walls built or re-built by different rulers over many centuries. The Wall with all the branches is believed to measure 21,196 kilometers in length!

Soldiers would sit in outposts communicating with each other using smoke signals during the day and fires at night in case of danger.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

In the sleepy city of Pisa sits an amazing structure, ‘The Leaning Tower of Pisa’, known for its tilt.  Yes, this 55.86 meter tall bell-tower tilts towards one side. It is part of the Cathedral complex of Pisa. But the tower was never meant to tilt to one side. It was built to stand like a normal tower – perfectly straight. However, the tower began to lean while they were constructing it, because of the soft ground on which it was built.

It has taken more than 800 years to completely finish the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’.

Courtesy: Dreamstime

The construcion of the tower began in 1173 AD. It halted when the tower began to lean. It was later resumed after about a 100 years! The final modifications to the tower were made during 1990-2001.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel tower, made of solid iron, was built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, in 1889 as a grand entrance to the World Fair. It took 2 years 2 months and 5 days to build it. It was built to commemorate the French Revolution. Did you know that the design was criticized by most people in Paris initially because they felt it just did not fit in!

Today it is one of the most visited structures in the world. As many as 250 million visitors have come to the Eiffel Tower since it opened it doors, making it the most visited paid monument in the world! The Eiffel tower stands 1,063 feet tall and weighs 10,100 tons. 

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Since 2000, every evening the Eiffel Tower is illuminated every hour for five minutes by 20,000 light bulbs until 1:00 am. Care has been taken to ensure this light show consumes as little electricity as possible. The bulbs are low power 6-watt bulbs that light up randomly.

The Big Ben

As you cross the English Channel into England we cannot help but look for the Big Ben: a symbol of London. A very important part of the Cars 2 adventure, this structure is located in the capital city of London. “The Big Ben” is the nickname given to the ‘Great Bell’ that sits in a tower on the east side of the Houses of Parliament.  It is now officially known as the ‘Elizabeth Tower’.

The tower was completed in 1858. The Big Ben first struck its chimes on July 11, 1859. It however soon developed a huge crack and had to be put out of service until a new bell was installed.

The Big Ben with a double decker bus in front of it is a visual many films use for the city.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

The Pyramids of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, is the oldest and the largest of the three pyramids in the area. It is about 4,500 years old. 

The Egyptian pyramids were mostly made of limestone. They were built by Egyptian kings or pharaohs. These kings believed that they would become gods after their death. The pharaohs erected pyramid tombs for themselves and filled it with things they would need in their afterlife. It is believed that as many as 2.3 million limestone blocks were used to build this Great Pyramid.

Great Pyramid of Khufu was about 147 m tall. In fact it was the tallest man-made structure for about 3,800 years.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty located in Liberty Island in New York, USA is known to be a symbol of freedom across the world. Did you know that it was a gift of friendship from France? It was built in France and then taken apart in 350 individual pieces placed in 214 crates and shipped to New York. It was then rebuilt in the city.

The torch that the statue holds symbolizes enlightenment. The book or tablets in her other hand has the date of American independence in Roman letters. Her feet are wrapped in broken chains, symbolizing freedom and a forward movement. The statue is very big – if measured from the ground to the top of the torch it stands 305 feet tall.

The Statue of Liberty weighs 204 tons. Lady liberty has a shoe size of 879 and a waistline of 35 feet!

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Fun Fact

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel also designed the metal framework for the Statue of Liberty!