1. The World’s Tallest Building For 3,800 Years Was a Pyramid

By Nina - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=282496

By Nina – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=282496

 

For 3,800 years, the Great Pyramid of Giza was the world’s tallest building. Built between 2580-2560 AD at a height of 455 feet, the Pyramid of Giza was the tallest man-made structure in existence. Its record was broken in 1311 by the Lincoln Cathedral in England, whose spire rose to 520 feet. The record has been repeatedly beaten ever since. As of this post, the record is held by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at a whopping 2,716 feet.

2. The World’s Smallest Skyscraper

By Travis K. Witt - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46753328

By Travis K. Witt – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46753328

The title of World’s Smallest Skyscraper belongs to the Newby-McMahon Building in Witchita Falls, Texas at a whopping 40 feet tall. As we’ve covered at length here before, the building was built by a nefarious structural engineer, J.D. McMahon, who led investors to believe they were funding the construction of a 480-foot tall building. A closer look at the plans revealed the structure they agreed to build was actually 480 inches tall — 9’ wide, 12’ long, and barely enough room for a stairwell. The building is still a historical landmark and an unofficial monument to gullibility.

3. A Palace Made of Pebbles

By Otourly - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19547449

By Otourly – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19547449

Le Palais Ideal is a palace built by one man’s randomly collected stones. French postman Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) began collecting stones that he found interesting along his route for over 33 years. He took these stones and used them to build his idea of a palace (hence the name) — a structure that combines architectural styles from around the world. The accumulated stones were turned into columns, grottoes, flying buttresses ranging 26 meters long and 10 meters high. Despite all of this, Cheval has no formal architecture training. The palace still exists in Hauterives, France is open for tours to the public. 

4. How Long it Took to Complete Construction on the Great Wall of China

shutterstock_275490581 (1)Though many people claim you can see it from space (you can’t), the Great Wall of China isn’t only a marvel for its size, but also for how long it took to complete. The full length of the nearly 12,000-mile-long wall that protected sections of the country from invaders took longer to complete than the existence of the Christian faith. Emperor Qin Shi Huang began construction in about the 7th century BC. The last sections were completed in 1878 by the Qing Dynasty.

5. The “Modern” Entrance of an Ancient Temple

Al-KhaznehIf you’ve seen “Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade”, you likely remember “The Canyon of the Crescent Moon” — what looks almost like a Victorian-style house front carved into a giant rock wall. Despite its relatively modern appearance, this is actually what is known as Al-Khazneh (“The Treasury”) in Petra, Jordan. The carved entrance is thought to have once been the mausoleum of the ancient King Aretas IV from the 1st century AD. Despite having columns and other architecture accurate to the time it was built, many such architectural attributes exist within Victorian styles, make for a peculiar juxtaposition from a distance. 


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