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6 Famous Landmarks in Europe.

  • Wednesday, 07 Dec, 2022
  • 3712
6 Famous Landmarks in Europe

Europe is rife with magnificent sites; in fact, the continent has too many great structures to properly display them all. There are several well-known European monuments that don't need an introduction, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Of your next European vacation, you won't be short on options for must-see landmarks; the challenge will be choose which ones to visit first. Everything from enigmatic monoliths dating back 5,000 years to a quirky cathedral now under construction is packed with amazing art, architecture, and history.

1. Eiffel Tower, Paris

Soaring above the southwest part of Paris from its home in the 7th arrondissement, the Eiffel Tower's 1,063 feet of height have made it an internationally recognised icon of not just Paris, but of France as a whole.

It's hard to believe that the open-lattice, wrought-iron tower, conceived by French architect Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World's Fair, was meant to be dismantled after only 20 years.

Although the tower's unconventional design sparked much debate, it was finally allowed to stand because of the practical benefits it might provide as a telecommunications antenna. The city's iconic spire has become an indelible part of the Parisian skyline, marking one of the most recognisable structures in all of Europe.

The slender, monumental structure of the tower stands as a defining feature of each trip to Paris (bonus: it provides a reliable orientation point for visitors). Access the three floors and observation platforms of the tower via the elevators or steps and take in the breathtaking panoramas of the city from the comfort of the Champagne bar, the Michelin-starred restaurant, or the see-through glass floor.

At night, when hundreds of lights illuminate it intermittently, the tower is undoubtedly even more stunning. France is famous for its views of the Eiffel Tower, and the esplanade of the Palais de Chaillot, just over the Seine, offers some of the most stunning.

2. Colosseum, Rome

Not only is it one of the most recognised structures in Europe, but Rome’s Colosseum is also a lasting icon of the ancient world. The Colosseum, built by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72, is just as impressive now as it was when it was first built over two thousand years ago. His son and successor Titus finished it out in 80 AD, and it became known as the Flavian Amphitheatre.

Located just east of relic-littered Palatine Hill in Rome, the colossal stone and concrete building is 160 feet tall with a circle of 1,788 feet—a mind-boggling magnitude for the times. Contemplate it while pacing its perimeters, taking notice of the travertine-clad walls and trio of tiered seating levels, with arches crowned by distinct column types (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian). Above, a huge velarium (awning) could be retracted to protect spectators from the weather.

Inside the engineering wonder of its elliptical bowl, you can envision old images from the gladiators and wild creatures that once fought here during the height of the Roman Empire, when some 50,000 spectators took in violent and horrific displays of fight.

3. Parthenon, Athens

The Parthenon, a temple made of white marble, is the most well-known remnant of ancient Greece. It stands atop the rocky Acropolis in Athens (the sacred heart of the ancient city). The picturesque sanctuary is characterised by a belvedere that overlooks Athens and a colonnade made up of Doric columns that work in perfect harmony with one another.

Pericles, a prominent Athenian, had this large structure built to honour Athena Parthenos, the city's patron goddess (a gigantic gold and ivory statue of her image was formerly housed there), and to act as the city's treasury. The majority of the temple that stands now was constructed about the middle of the fifth century BC.

Walking up the Acropolis's steep slopes is like taking a time machine back to the origins of Western culture. The Parthenon, which is almost two thousand years old and is located on top of the Acropolis, dominates the other ancient Greek structures that have been distributed about the area.

For preservation purposes, entry within the monument is prohibited. The façade, however, does not fail to impress with its 46 elegant columns and perch for panoramic city views.

Numerous sculptures and items that were previously temple adornments may be seen at the neighbouring Acropolis Museum, one of the finest museums in Europe, giving visitors a clearer idea of what the temple's interior could have been like in antiquity. A replica of the temple's missing friezes, including the so-called Elgin Marbles, which are presently on show in the British Museum in London and the subject of much debate, may also be seen there.

4.  La Sagrada Família, Barcelona

La Sagrada Famlia, a cathedral in Barcelona designed by the renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaud, is one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The neo-Gothic/Art Nouveau basilica, built on an epic scale, is still a work in progress almost a century after construction started in 1882.

The façade is a dazzling extravaganza of spires, towers, carvings, and sculptures that soar to a maximum height of 566 feet, making it one of Spain's most stunning landmarks. Close up, you can make out all sorts of fascinating creatures, plants, and sceneries etched into stone, from gargoyles and dragons to nativity scenes and biblical narratives.

There's enough area for 13,000 seated worshippers to sit and contemplate the building's lofty interior, which has gigantic, twisting pillars stretching toward the centre nave in a landscape evocative of a forest canopy.

A century after Gaud's death (he is interred in the crypt underground), the projected completion date of La Sagrada Famlia has finally been set for 2026.

5. Stonehenge, UK

This ancient circle of megalithic pillars in the English countryside, on Salisbury Plain, has attracted onlookers for decades. Although it has been called the most significant ancient monument in Britain and its origins may be traced back to as early as 3000 BC, many mysteries still surround the site and its construction.

The stones' alignment with the solstice dawn and sunset has led some historians to speculate that they served as an astronomical observatory. Some people think it was a sacred burial ground. The large bluestone and sarsen stones (weighing as much as 45 tonnes) that make up the site are the most unusual part of it, at least from an engineering perspective.

Visit the legendary archaeological site to see what clues to the past it may hold for you, but do so with the understanding that you will be unable to touch any of the intriguing monoliths.

6. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa

This odd bell tower for the Pisa Cathedral in Pisa, Italy, was built in 1173, but it has been off-center ever since it was constructed due to the uneven settlement of its base on the soft ground below. The 850-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa, which stands at 185 feet tall, continues to lean (to about 4 degrees off the vertical) despite the best efforts of architects who have sought to correct for the tilt throughout the years.

Sadly, its unique history is what has made it one of Italy's must-see attractions and a European icon. The eight-story mediaeval tower has been stabilised such that the 251 inner stairs may still be safely climbed by tourists today. The tower is decorated with white-marble arcades. From the peak, you can take in breathtaking panoramas of the church and the Tuscan countryside.

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