The manmade ancient wonders of Asia are a far cry from the huge engineering projects and high rise buildings that now litter the region. As wondrous as these modern feats of engineering are, they don’t have the mystique and romance of their antique cousins. The ancient wonders of Asia are hugely popular with travelers and feature on many a bucket list. Here are some of the most incredible manmade ancient wonders of Asia.
1 Banaue Rice Terraces, the Philippines
Rice terraces are not uncommon in this part of the world but what makes the terraces of Banaue one of the ancient wonders of Asia is their sheer size. Unequaled elsewhere in terms of height and vastness, what makes them even more amazing is knowing they have been created over the past two thousand years using only hand tools.
2 Taj Mahal, India
One of the most recognizable structures in the world, as well as being hugely magnificent and stunningly beautiful, its story is undeniably romantic. The Taj Mahal was built in the 1660s by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife. Many argue that with its marble, dome and symmetry, it is the most beautiful building in the world.
3 Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Covering an area as large as Paris, Angkor Wat is one of many travelers’ and archaeologists' favorite ancient Asian wonders. The ornate architectural details and intricate stone carvings are a masterpiece of construction and hugely impressive. One of the most interesting features is how the roots of surrounding banyan trees are wrapping themselves around the ancient structures.
4 Potala Palace, Tibet
Many of the manmade ancient wonders of Asia held records of various sorts down the centuries and the Potala Palace was the tallest occupied building in the world between 1653 and 1889. Overlooking the Tibetan capital Lhasa, the place was once the winter home of the Dalai Lama and is now a museum.
5 Borobudur Temple, Indonesia
The best contenders among the ancient Asian wonders are religious structures and this is another of them. Borobudur is an incredibly beautiful and intricate stupa, and is the largest stupa in the world. Built in the 8th century, it was then abandoned and remained half buried until it was rediscovered in 1814. In a project spanning 10 years, the entire temple was taken apart and reconstructed to become the fabulous World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from all over the globe.
6 Qin’s Terracotta Army
Touted as one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century, the terracotta army of the Emperor Qin at Xi’an is one of the most intriguing ancient wonders of Asia. There are more than 8,000 clay-baked life-sized warriors and horses and they were built to protect the 3rd Century Emperor in the after-life. The site that was discovered accidentally by peasants in 1974 is still being excavated.
7 Forbidden City, China
For nearly 500 years up to 1911, a total of 24 Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties ruled China from behind the walls of the Forbidden City in Beijing. A huge complex of royal palaces and ceremonial halls, it is now a public museum and is called such. Forbidden City is actually a nickname due to the untimely end anyone who entered without permission came to; prior to Communist China, it was known as the Imperial City.
8 Bagan, Mayanmar
Peeking out from amid lush green forest, the pagodas and temples of Bagan are an amazing sight and have become one of the most visited ancient Asian wonders. Built between the 8th and 11th centuries, it is estimated that more than 10,000 structures were built on the plain of the Irrawaddy River and some 300,000 people were thought to have lived here. The best way to see them is from above in a hot air balloon.
Does your mind reel just thinking about how the ancient wonders of Asia were built? Mine does!