Regions and countries of the world
Below is a list of more than 60 world's most impressive and interesting landmarks:
- Barringer crater - United States, Arizona. Most impressive meteorite crater on Earth, 1,180 m in diameter and 170 m deep.
- Grand Canyon - United States, Arizona. Possibly the most impressive canyon in the world. This 446 km long canyon is up to 1,800 m deep, with rugged, nearly vertical walls.
- Guilin - Lijiang Karst - China, Guangxi. Beautiful karst landscape along the Li River, consists of numerous steep, conical limestone pinnacles. Sights of this landscape represent one of the most famous sights of China.
- Cave of the Crystals, Naica - Mexico, Chihuahua. Cave with giant selenite crystals up to 12 metres long and 55 tons heavy. Air temperature in the cave is up to 58 °C high.
- Son Doong cave (Hang Sơn Đoòng) - Vietnam, North Central Coast, Quang Binh province. Biggest known cave in the world. Especially impressive is the more than 4 km long passage, which is continuously 90 m wide and up to 200 m high. Total known length of this cave is 9 km. Powerful stream flows through the cave. Here are found unique cave pearls as large as baseballs, as well as green, algae covered gours.
Volcanoes and geothermal features
- Erta Ale Volcano - Ethiopia, Afar. One of the most active volcanos in the world, with constant lava lake (sometimes two lakes) in the crater, known since 1906. None of the other known lava lakes in the world have such a long lifetime.
- Dallol salt springs and geysers - Ethiopia, Afar. One of the visually most outstanding places on Earth, the hot springs have a high salt concentration, which has shaped terrraces and other formations of very bright, unusual colors. Among the hot springs there is also salt geyser - possibly the only one in the world.
- Wai-O-Tapu - New Zealand, Bay of Plenty. One of the most beautiful geothermal areas worldwide. Besides Lady Knox geyser, mud pools, numerous hot springs and sinter terraces it contains highly unusual hot spring - Champagne Pool, constantly filled with carbon dioxide bubbles. Crater of this spring is 65 m across, depth - approximately 62 m. Along the rim of this spring are deposited bright orange arsenic and antimony salts. Champagne Pool contains several species of endemic microorganisms.
- Airdevronsix icefall - Antarctica, Victoria Land. Giant, approximately 5 km wide and 400 m tall icefall.
- Angel Falls - Venezuela, Bolivar. Tallest waterfall in the world, falling from the vertical wall of Auyantepui. The waterfall is 979 metres high, highest plunge - 807 metres.
- Iguazu Falls - Argentina, Misiones and Paraná, Brazil. One of the most enormous and most impressive waterfalls of the world, they are "only" 82 metres tall, but 2 700 metres wide.
- Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya) - Southern Province in Zambia and Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. World's largest waterfall, 1,708 metres wide and 108 metres high. One of the most impressive natural sights in world.
- General Sherman - United States, California. Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.), the largest tree of the world by volume. Volume 1,487 m3. Height 83.8 m, girth 33.0 m. Believed to be 2,300 - 2,700 years old.
- Giant Forest - United States, California. Unique forest with stands of giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) - the largest trees in world. This is the easiest to access sequoia grove but also contains the largest trees - five of the ten largest trees on Earth are located in this grove. Area - 7.6 km². In California are located several more notable groves of these giant trees.
- Vallée de Mai - Seychelles, Praslin. Relict of Gondwana, natural palm forest with the endemic coco de mer palm (Lodoicea maldivica) grove and five other endemic palms. Coco de mer grows up to 34 m tall and has the largest seeds in plant kingdom - up to 42 kg heavy nuts. Many other endemic species of plants and animals, numerous vanilla orchids.
- Yasuni Forest - Ecuador, Pastaza, Orelana and Napo. Possibly the most biodiverse area in the world. In this rainforest the diversity of amphibians, birds, mammals and vascular plants (with 2,700 - 4,000 species of plants per hectare) reaches their maximum for Western Hemisphere. Uncontacted tribes live in the forest. Endangered and affected by oil extraction.
Early human finds
- Liang Bua - Indonesia, East Nusa Tenggara, Flores. In the cave (and only here) were discovered remnants of an extinct, recent species of human - Homo florensiensis.
- Oldupai Gorge (Olduvai Gorge) - Tanzania, Arusha. World's most important source of information about the development of early humans. Homo habilis lived here some 1.9 million years ago, Homo erectus - 1.2 million years ago, Homo sapiens - 17,000 years ago. Here have been discovered some of the oldest stone tools in the world, signs of hunting.
Man made landmarks
Towns and cities
- Cité de Carcassonne – France, Languedoc-Roussillon. Medieval walled city, surrounded by 3 km long double wall with 53 towers. Walls built by Romans in the 3rd century AD and further fortified by French in Romanesque style.
- Historic Centre of Prague - Czech Republic, Prague. Prague provides one of the most impressive medieval cityscapes in the world. City has a huge number of outstanding architecture monuments in beautiful natural setting. Historical centre is large and consists of several parts, including Staré Město (Prague Old Town), Nové Město (Prague New Town), Malá Strana and Hradčany as well as Josefov - the historical Jewish ghetto.
- Manhattan - United States, New York. The most prominent historical skyscraper district in the world. First highrises were built here in the late 19th century. Currently the most prominent buildings here are Empire State Building (381 m tall, built in 1931), Chrysler Building (282 m, built in 1930) and many others.
- Old City of Sana'a - Yemen, Amanat Al-Asemah. Impressive display of the unique Yemeni urban planning and architecture. Sana'a is founded before 500 BC and here are buildings which are more than 1,400 years old. The city walls are 9 - 14 m tall, the old city contains more than 100 mosques, 6,500 houses. Most of the houses represent highrise buildings and are ornamented.
- Venice - Italy, Veneto. One of the most unusual and most beautiful cities on Earth, containing an unbelievable amount of art and architecture values
Ancient, former cities
- Acropolis of Athens - Greece, Attica, Athens. One of the most important European heritage monuments - citadel of the city of Athens. Contains ruins of numerous Greek temples which have left huge impact on world architecture. Most buildings were built in 460 - 430 BC, but the history of the citadel goes back to the Late Bronze Age.
- Bagan temple city - Burma, Mandalay Region. An old temple city with 2217 temples (initially more than 5000) built mainly in the 9th - 11th centuries, once the most important centres of Buddhism in the region. More than 300 temples contain frescoes. Served as a capital of several ancient kingdoms. Although most of the temples are not in active use, locals continue to use them for some religious activities. These numerous high and beautiful buildings create a unique skyline.
- Chichen Itza – Mexico, Yucatán. Major urban centre of lowland Maya culture with numerous monuments of world importance and fame. Chichen Itza became important centre around 600 AD and remained such centre until its fall roughly in 1000 AD. Some of the best known monuments are El Castillo pyramid, the Great Ball Court, Temple de los Guerreros, El Caracol observatory, Ossario pyramid. The unique Sacred Cenote is natural sinkhole - human sacrifice site. In deposits of cenote have been discovered huge amounts of gold and jade artefacts as well as human remains.
- Machu Picchu - Peru, Cusco. One of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world, an Inca town. Machu Picchu is located on rugged cliff peak and consists of extensive ruins of stone structures. It is believed that the town was built sometimes around 1450 as a shelter and centre for Inca rulers - and abandoned sometimes around 1572. Especially interesting monument here is Intihuatana - a sculpted stone, possible astronomic clock or calendar. Another amazing monument is a cave - Temple of the Moon in the nearby Huayna Picchu.
- Petra – Jordan, Ma’an. Ancient capital city of Nabateans, established around the 6th c. BC in the site of ancient sanctuary. Contains some of the most beautiful and intricate rock-cut architecture in the world, available after walking through some 1.2 km long, narrow gorge.
- Pompeii - Italy, Campania. The best preserved ancient Roman town which was eliminated by volcanic pyroclastic flows in 79 AD.
- Sigiriya - Sri Lanka, Central. One of the most interesting monuments of urban planning worldwide. Sigirya was developed around and on the top of nearly 200 m high rock peak. The construction took place in 477 - 495 AD. Later, until the 13th or 14th century this city was used for Buddhist monastery. This complex includes several unique monuments which include a giant lion whose mouth serves as the entrance to rock fortress and beautiful frescoes - a masterpiece of world importance.
- Teotihuacan – Mexico, México. One of the largest ancient cities in the world containing numerous monuments of architecture and art. Established sometimes around 200 BC and was abandoned in the 7th - 8th centuries AD. Hugely impressive monument of urban planning is Avenue of the Dead. Exceptional structure is Pyramid of the Sun – third largest ancient pyramid in the world. Height – 71.2 m. Pyramid of the Moon is an older pyramid from 200 – 450 AD, 42 m high. Site contains numerous valuable murals.
- Uruk - Iraq, Muthanna. Possibly the oldest true city - metropolis in the world, developed as urban area around 4000 BC. Around 2900 BC there were some 50 - 80 thousand inhabitants. Abandoned around the 4th century AD. Notable is Eanna district - possibly the first urban area in the world, where the oldest writings in the history have been found.
- Great Wall of China - China, Beijing Municipality, Gansu, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Lianoning, Shandong and other. Parts of wall also in Mongolia. Largest series of fortification in world with a total length 8,852 km, including 6,259.6 km of actual wall. Built in the 5th century BC - 16th century AD by Chinese to protect northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by northern nomads. The oldest fraction is Great Wall of Qi (in Shandong) - approximately 600 km long section of wall built 685 BC.
- Krak des Chevaliers - Syria, Homs. One of the most prominent and impressive medieval castles in the world. Kurds developed a fortress since the 11th century here, byt Crusaders rebuilt it in the 1140s - 1170 and in the 13th century.
- Château de Chambord – France, Centre. One of the most iconic Renaissance buildings in the world. In its design are melted the French medieval architecture and Italian classical architecture. Built in 1519 – 1547. This castle still has fortifications, including a keep and a moat, but it primarily functions as an luxuriant residence. Palace has 440 rooms.
- Potala Palace - Tibet, Lhasa. A monument of world importance, this is the chief residence of the Dalai Lama. The first palace was built here in 637, while the current palace was built in 1645 at 13 floors and 117 metres high. It contains 1000 rooms and numerous monuments of art and knowledge, although most of them have been lost since the Chinese invasion.
- Palace of Versailles - France, Île-de-France. The best known and possibly most magnificent palace in the world. Developed in suburbs of Paris since 1661 and served as a royal palace until 1789. With the development of Versailles there was developed a new style in many areas of life – architecture, planning, arts, governance, etiquette – thus the palace represents one of most important monuments of culture in Europe. Considered to be the largest palace in the world, with 700 rooms, facade is some 680 m long. Site includes Gardens of Versailles - the finest example of French Garden design, a Baroque style representation in landscape architecture. Gardens have a complicated hydraulics system, some 1,400 fountains and 300 statues.
- Karnak Temple Complex – Egypt, Luxor. Ruins of one of the main temples in the capital of Ancient Egypt, largest ancient temple complex in the world. Consists of four major parts, where the Precinct of Mut, Precinct of Montu, Temple of Amenhotep IV and the best known – Precinct of Amun-Re. Temple was active for millenia. Contains numerous outstanding details, e.g. Hypostyle Hall with 134 massive columns, where 12 columns are 21 m tall, with a diameter over three meters. On the top of these columns are 70 tons heavy architraves.
- Angkor Wat - Cambodia, Siem Reap. Considered to be the single largest religious complex in the world, built in the ancient capital of Khmers in the early 12th century. Considered to be one of greatest achievements of humankind in architecture. Initially built as a Hindu monument, later converted into Buddhist temple complex. Temple is adorned with more than 1 thousand m² of high quality bas-reliefs.
- Ajanta Caves - India, Maharashtra. Exceptional monument of archaeology and art - group of caves hewn in rock, for most part in the 2nd century BC. Caves contain elaborate carvings and frescoes, often are reinforced by massive stone columns left from original rock.
- Borobudur – Indonesia, Central Java. This Mahayana Buddhist temple complex was built in in the period between 760 and 830 AD. One of the most impressive ancient temples in the world, largest Buddhist structure in world. This pyramid-shaped shrine is adorned with 2,772 sculpted panels and 504 Buddha sculptures, it is 35 m high, each side is 123 m long, whole structure is of high symbolism and represents Buddhist cosmology.
- Ellora Caves - India, Maharashtra. One of the most impressive rock-cut architectural monuments in the world, built between 550 - 1000 AD. 34 caves contain Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sanctuaries. Includes Kailasanatha (Kailash Temple) - possibly the most splendid rock-cut cave in world.
- Shwedagon Pagoda - Burma, Yangon Region. Gilded and 98 metres tall, this stupa is richly adorned with jewels. It is the most sacred pagoda in Burma. Initially built in the 6th century, rebuilt and extended, one of the most impressive architecture monuments in the world.
- Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) - Italy, Tuscany - one of the most impressive buildings in world. Constructed mainly in Gothic style but seen as one of the first Renaissance buildings. Constructed in 1296 - 1469.
- Hagia Sophia - Turkey, İstanbul. Former Orthodox basilica, now museum. Possibly - highest achievement of Byzantine architecture, largest cathedral in world for nearly 1,000 years. Built in 532 - 537.
- Milan Cathedral - Lombardy. Great Gothic cathedral, one of the most impressive buildings in world, built in 1386 - 1965.
- Saint Mark's Basilica - Italy, Veneto. One of world's most impressive church buildings in Byzantine style, constructed in 1094.
- Sistine Chapel - Vatican. Chapel at the Apostolic Palace, an important place for papal activity, the site where new pope is selected. This church is not especially large but it has very special importance for the history of church and art history. Built in 1473 – 1481 and known in the world thanks to the frescoes made by such Renaissance artists as Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, Domenico Ghilandaio, Pietro Perugino. These frescoes are among world’s highest achievement in art.
- St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican. Best known of the four ancient papal basilicas. The most important church in Christian history, with the largest interior of any church. The largest structure in Vatican which in fact occupies a significant part of this state. The present basilica was built in 1506 - 1626 and represents one of the most important pieces of Renaissance architecture. Contains several graves including the purported grave of Saint Peter (Vatican Necropolis).
- Reims Cathedral – France, Champagne – Ardenne. One of the best examples of Gothic architecture, built in the end of the 13th century. Towers are 81 m tall, interior hall is 138.75 m long. Excellent stained glass and sculptures. Original cathedral was here already in the 4th century AD. The kings of France were crowned here.
- Sagrada Familia - Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona. Largest and by far - most impressive Art Nouveau church in world, designed by Antoni Gaudi, started in 1882, due to be completed in 2026.
- Saint Basil's Cathedral - Russia, Moscow. A group of nine churches built in 1555 - 1561 to commemorate the victories of Ivan the Terrible. This building has left much influence on Russian and world architecture.
- Masjid al-Haram - Saudi Arabia, Makkah. The largest mosque in world, it was built in 638 AD to surround the Kaaba - holiest site of Islam. Contains several other sacred places, including Zamzam Well, which is widely believed to be a miraculous natural spring but in reality is handmade well.
- Khufu’s Pyramid (Great Pyramid of Giza) – Egypt, Giza. Tallest ancient pyramid and ancient structure in the world, built around 2500 BC. Originally was 146.5 m tall, now – 138.8 m. The incredible size and precision of this structure is rarely surpassed today. Contains three chambers, most likely built as a burial and mortuary temple.
- Pyramid of Djoser – Egypt, Cairo. The oldest cut stone building in the world, built in the 27th century BC for the burial of pharaoh Djoser. This giant, stepped pyramid originally was 62 m tall. This structure marks major innovations in the history of world architecture and culture. Under the pyramid is a maze of underground passages and chambers with a total length of 5.6 km.
Petroglyphs and rock art
- Cave of Altamira - Spain, Cantabria. Cave with some of the best cave paintings in the world, mostly polychrome paintings of wild mammals, 18 - 14 thousand years old.
- Chauvet, Grotte ornée – France, Rhône-Alpes. Cave with some of the best examples of prehistoric painting. Contains 420 drawings (paintings and engravings) of animals which have been created since 35,000 BP, Aurignacian period. These drawings belong to the oldest artworks in the world. The quality of the drawings shows that ancient humans already very long ago professed high quality art. Paintings and engravings are done in different techniques but always in very high quality.
- Nazca Lines - Peru, Ica. The best known geoglyphs in the world, created around 400 - 650 AD in the extremely dry Nazca Desert. Giant, up to 200 m long prehistoric drawings are spread over large area, the best among them are Family, Mandala, Tree, Spider, Condor, Astronaut, Whale. Numerous are the rectangular areas and lines.
- Ubirr (Obiri) – Australia, Northern Australia, Kakadu National Park. Some of the best galleries of Aboriginal X-ray style drawings, some are up to 40,000 years old. Three galleries are accessible to visitors.
- Rai of Yap - Federated States of Micronesia, Yap Island. Limestone discs with a hole in the middle, diameter up to 3 metres, used as money over the last 500 years. In 1929 there were registered 13,281 stone discs all over the island, now many have been looted and some thousands remain. The largest "coins" are on Rumung Island – one "coin" here has a diameter of 3.6 m.
- Rano Raraku quarry - Easter Island. One of the visually most impressive megalithic monuments of the world. Rano Raraku served as a mine of moai, used around 1200 - 1700 AD. Here in the comparatively soft volcanic tuff were hewn moai sculptures for further transport to different parts of island. Numerous - 397 - sculptures are still located in situ, half-made or left on the way to their destinations. Very impressive are the semi-completed moai still standing in the vertical cliff face. Not less imposing are the moai dotting the slope and partly subsided in the ground. Rano Raraku serves as a great place to research the evolution of moai. Here is located the largest moai weighing 270 tons and 21.6 m tall, many times larger than any transported moai. Here nearby is located also Tukuturi - unusual sitting sculpture made of red stone from Puna Pau quarry.
- Stonehenge - England, Wiltshire. One of the most popular archaeological monuments worldwide. Consists of a group of large standing stones in a circular setting, erected around 2500 BC (?). Located in the middle of dense complex of archaeological monuments.
Monuments and memorials
- Great Sphinx of Giza – Egypt, Giza. Largest monolithic statue in the world, built around 2550 BC. 73.5 m long and up to 20.22 m high, one of the most iconic sculptures in the world, central object of numerous legends and stories.
- Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang or Terracotta Army - China, Shaanxi. Unique monument of culture: buried terracotta sculptures - army soldiers near the mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, made around 210 BC. In total here in have been buried more than 8,000 sculptures of soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, all made in live size and bigger, all depicting individual people.
- Taj Mahal - India, Agra in Uttar Pradesh. Mausoleum, built in 1648 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. One of the most iconic monuments of architecture in world, unites elements of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture.
Countries and territories of the world
Wondermondo is reviewing the world by 284 countries and territories. Some territories (f.e. Alaska) are parts of other countries, some (Guadeloupe) - overseas regions, there are multiple other statuses as well. Most (198) are fully independent countries.
|Part of world||No. of described landmarks|
|Antarctic and Sub-antarctic region||11|
|Australia and Oceania||82|
Red markers - architecture and history monuments, pink - archaeological, blue - geological and meteorological, green - biological. Full list of monuments is here!
Featured: Great Sphinx of Giza
No one knows for sure why and when was built the largest monolithic statue in the world - the Great Sphinx of Giza. But most likely this is the oldest large, monumental sculpture in the world.