Our planet is full to the brim with incredible natural wonders and architecture, each representing its own belief, culture or national identity. If you're planning to travel the world anytime soon, make sure you put these incredible landmarks on your itinerary - they will literally take your breath away:
1. Taj Mahal, India
As a monument of love and a symbol of India, the Taj Mahal is an iconic cultural and architectural Indian landmark. One of the wonders of the world, it is no wonder millions of visitors come from far and wide to take in its unsurpassed architectural beauty. Completed in 1648 C.E, incredibly, it was constructed over a period of 22 years, with a workforce of 20,000 workers finally completing it.
2. The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
The Parthenon, which stands atop the Acropolis of Athens is a product of the classical period of the Hellenic civilisation and a major symbol of the Ancient Greek World. It has towered imposingly over the capital for the last 2,500 years, bestowing visitors a true sense of awe and wonder. Throughout this time, it has functioned most significantly as a Greek temple, but has also acted as a treasury, fortress, church, and mosque. Today, it is one of the most iconic and popular tourist attractions in the world.
As the self-proclaimed city of romance, Paris's iconic Eiffel Tower is of course the ultimate symbol of love, enticing millions of tourists every day. Standing at 1063 ft tall, it is not only the tallest building in Paris but the single most visited paid monument in the world. C'est magnifique!
4. Statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As a symbol of Christianity, the statue of Jesus Christ which stands majestically over the city of Rio de Janeiro has become an important icon of Rio and Brazil. Towering at 38 metres tall and 30 metres wide, it weighs a staggering 635 tons, dwarfing the millions of visitors that flock to its feet every year. Truly incredible!
5. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK
As the world's most famous prehistoric monument, the phenomenon of Stonehenge has left historians baffled and intrigued for years. The 5,000 year old rock formations which sit in a World Heritage Site are now considered sacred and widely associated with the supernatural world, but their ultimate purpose remains a fascinating and enduring mystery. Go along and decide for yourself!
6. The Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Egypt
Another worldwide phenomenon, the Egyptian pyramids are a symbol of the high culture of dynastic ancient Egypt. The Pyrmid of Khufu is the largest of the 138 Pyramids discovered in Egypt and only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence. The prevailing mystery and sheer fascination of the Pyramids never fail to amaze the swarms of tourists that migrate to the Egyptian deserts every year.
7. The Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
Essentially a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is truly a natural marvel. Contained within the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, the site can be explored a whole host of ways, whether by foot, helicopter or jeep (to name but a few). Beware though, the number of deaths that have resulted from adventurers over the years is astounding, from dehydration to suicide and even murder!
8. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Twin Towers located in Kuala Lumpur are the world's third tallest skyscrapers (after The Burj Khalifa and Taipei 101) and an iconic symbol of the city's spirit and identity. They are joint in the middle by a skybridge which also happens to be the highest 2-storey bridge in the world and can be crossed by visitors. Just don't look down - even the bridge soars at 558ft above the ground!
9. The Great Wall of China, China
The Great Wall of China was once seen as a symbol of the futility and cruelty of the first emperor's political and military ambitions, and is now one of the most celebrated symbols of China. A truly incredible landmark, the Long Wall was built more than 2,000 years ago and goes on to inspire and allure visitors to this day.
Rome is jam-packed full of historical spectacle, but the iconic Colosseum structure is Italian architecture at its best. This former Flavian Amphitheatre sits not too far from one of the most the famous hotels in Rome, The Forum, acts as an iconic symbol for the 'Eternal City' itself, and the civilization of the Imperial Roman Empire. Dramatically lit up by night, the building is a breath-taking spectacle to behold.
11. The Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure ever built, standing at an incredible 828 m (2,717 ft) tall. It took just under 5 years to complete construction and cost a whopping $1.5 billion. The building officially opened to the public on January 4th 2010. For prices between 70 - 400 AED (about £12 -£67), you can take a trip to the observation deck on level 124. With the lift travelling at 10 metres per second, this certainly isn’t one for the faint hearted!
12. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland is the largest coral reef system in the world, stretching over 1,600 miles(2,600 KM). It is the only living organic collective visible from outer space and is made up of almost 3000 individual reefs and over 900 islands. Parts of the Great Barrier Reef are more than 18 million years old!
If you know of any more great landmarks, let me know in the comments below and i'll add them to the list.