The 10 must see man made wonders of the Middle East
Country: United Arab Emirates
Opened in 2010 after 6 years of construction is the Burj Khalifa, standing a whopping 829.8 metres (2,722 ft) above the city of Dubai, it is the tallest building ever constructed. Holding numerous architectural records, visitors are able to visit the observation deck on the 148th floor, situated at 555 metres (1,821 ft) above ground level it is the second highest observation deck in the world. Surrounded by a park of pools, plants and fountains, it is today one of the most famous buildings on Earth.
10. Burj Khalifa
Completed in 851 AD in the city of Samarra just north of the modern day Iraqi capital, Baghdad, is a 52 metre (171 ft) spiral cone structure known as the Malwiya Tower. After the destruction of the Great Mosque Of Samarra in 1278 AD only the outer walls and the unique ascending conical Malwiya Tower survived. Ancient and unique, having stood for nearly 1,200 years, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. The Malwiya Tower
To the south of the Iranian capital, Tehran, is the historic city of Isfahan. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was the capital of Persia and one of the largest cities on Earth under the Safavid Dynasty. Today the city has retained its Persian Islamic architecture, with many boulevards, mosques, covered bridges and palaces. Renowned for it's historic monuments, artwork and architecture, the jewel in its crown is undoubtedly the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, completed in 1629 AD it is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid Era. These include the Shah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, The Sheikh Loft Allah Mosque and the Isfahan Grand Bazaar. One of the largest squares on the planet, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Naqsh-e Jahan Square
In the east of the Lebanon close to the Anti Lebanon Mountains that separate Lebanon and Syria is the city of Baalbek, home to The Heliopolis' Temple Complex, a treasure trove of ancient Roman ruins. Located on an immense man made raised plaza built from monolithic stones still stands the ruins of the Temple Of Jupiter, The Temple Of Bacchus, its foundation stones and walls, in what would have been one of the most incredible man made structures of its time. Close to the site is a quarry that contains the famous Three Stones, cut from limestone weighing approximately 880 tons each. A fourth stone, 'The Stone Of The Pregnant Woman', half dragged towards the temple complex is bigger still. This perfect rectangular block at over 20 metres (65 ft) in length with 4 metre (13 ft) edges weighing approx. 1,100 tons is among the largest monoliths ever quarried, and is a mystery as to how they could move such enormous structures. With one of the finest examples of Imperial Roman architecture anywhere, the Complex of Temples at Baalbek has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. Temple Of Bacchus
On the eastern side of the old walled city of Jerusalem lies 'The Mount Of The House Of God', known to Muslims as the Harram Esh-Sharif and to the world as the Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites on Earth. It has been a holy site for thousands of years, with temples built and destroyed throughout the centuries. At present the site is dominated by three monumental structures, the Al Aqsa Mosque, The Dome Of The Rock and the Dome Of The Chain.
The Dome Of the Rock was built in 691 AD and is undoubtedly the most recognizable structure within Jerusalem. One of the oldest works of Islamic architecture, in the middle of the Temple Mount within the Muslim Quarter it has at its centre the Foundation Stone above the Well Of Souls, the holiest of holies within the Jewish faith. Along with the entire historic centre of Jerusalem it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Temple Mount & Dome Of The Rock
Built in 537 AD in Istanbul, Turkey, under the orders of Byzantine Emperor Justinian is the Greek Orthodox Christian Basilica known as the Hagia Sophia. Designed to be the most astounding building ever built, its interior was decorated with frescoes, mosaics, marble pillars and rich artworks brought in from around the kingdom. Converted into a mosque when the Ottoman's conquered Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia provided the architectural inspiration for many of the Ottoman era mosques that were to follow. Today, operating as a secular museum it has remained one of the finest constructions in history. The greatest surviving masterpiece of Byzantine architecture was the greatest cathedral of its time, and had remained the largest in the world for over 1,000 years, until it was surpassed in size by Seville Cathedral. The most iconic single landmark in all of Turkey as well as the countries most visited site, the Hagia Sophia is considered a masterpiece in human history. It was shortlisted as a contender for one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World and is undoubtedly the single most important landmark in Istanbul's historic UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Hagia Sophia
Country: Saudi Arabia
Located in the north west of Saudi Arabia, to the north of the city of Medina is the archaeological site of Mada'in Saleh, meaning cities of Saleh. Once the Nabatean Kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after its ancient capital, Petra, modern day Jordan, today it constitutes the largest conserved site of the Nabatean civilization after Petra. Featuring well preserved monumental tombs with decorated facades dating from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD, it is an absolute jewel of human history. As such, the 111 monumental rock cut tombs from the ancient Nabatean kingdom have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. Mada'in Saleh
To the west of the Egyptian capital,Cairo, within the Giza Necropolis on the Giza Plateau is one of the most iconic and most little understood structures on Earth, the Great Sphinx. Known in Arabic as Abu Al-Haul, the 'Terifying One', literally 'Father Of Dread', the limestone statue depicts a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a man. Measuring 20 metres (66 ft) high and 73 metres (241 ft) in length it is the largest monolithic statue in the world.
The construction date and the builders of the Great Sphinx is unknown. The disproportion of the head and body is believed by some to be due to the fact it was once a complete lion statue facing the constellation of Leo in the night sky. For this to be true, and to account for the water erosion on the structures body, it would pre-date the Great Pyramids by 12,000 years. This would change everything we think we know about the history of mankind.
3. The Great Sphinx Of Giza
In the south of the Jordan on the slopes of the Jabal Al-Madbah, among the mountains of the Arabah Valley is the historical and archaeological city of Petra, famed worldwide for its rock cut facade architecture. Established in the 4th century BC by the Nabataeans, annexed by the Romans and then abandoned by the Byzantine Empire, Petra was lost among the mountains for centuries. Rediscovered by Europeans in 1812 it became one of the greatest finds of the 19th century. Known as the Rose City due to the colour of the stone out of which it is carved, its most famous site is undoubtedly the Al Khazneh, known in English as 'The Treasury'. Carved in the 1st century AD it is one of the most elaborate temples of the ancient Arab Nabataean Kingdom. Considered one of the most precious properties of man's cultural heritage, the most visited site in the country, an iconic symbol of Jordan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of insurmountable importance, and recently voted to be one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World.
To the west of the Egyptain capital, Cairo, within the Giza Necropolis on the Giza Plateau is one of Earths most iconic sights, the Pyramids Of Giza. The Pyramid of Menkaure, standing 65 metres (213 ft) high is the smallest of the three. Next is the Pyramid Of Khafre at 136 metres (448 ft) high. The Pyramid Of Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest, constructed in 2580 BC it stands 146 metres (481 ft) high, and stood as the tallest man made structure on Earth for more than 3,800 years. Thought to have been built over a twenty year period, the Great Pyramid is considered an impossible architectural feat of its time, having baffled the world as to how ancient man could carve or move such enormous stones, placing them with such perfection to such heights. The iconic emblem of Egypt, the Great Pyramid is the oldest and last remaining of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World. Easily one of mankinds greatest achievements, it holds the strongest claim to be the single greatest.