One does not necessarily have to trek to the four corners of the word to appreciate the beauty of magnificent monuments, be they architectural or natural wonders. Today, with the Internet and popular TV shows like National Geographic, you can be an arm-chair-tourist and be easily taken to unbelievable sites.
Monuments like “Christ The Redeemer” overlooking Rio de Janeiro often invoke a spiritual feeling and therefore appeal to many for religious purposes. Awe inspiring natural wonders like the Owachomo Bridge (known as ‘rock mound’ to the Hopi Indians) located in Utah often generates oohs and ahhs in appreciation of Mother Nature’s artistic hand.
Not to be outdone by nature though, man has created some pretty awe inspiring architectural wonders such as the Statue of Liberty, which has been listed in many survey’s as the number one monument in the world.
Here are some other notable and often visited monuments:
- India’s Taj Mahal inspires some 2 to 3 million visitors annually, and is one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
- The Eiffel Tower has averaged more than 6 million visitors per year since 2004 – certainly a testament to its unique architecture.
- The Washington Moument (considered the tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk) and the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial’s (commemorating the life and death of our 3rd and 16th president’s of the U.S.) are imposing structures attracting millions of visitors every year.
When speaking of monuments, one cannot ignore the Giza Pyramid and the Great Sphinx near Cairo, Egypt, nor Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire County, UK; listed as the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. The Great Wall of China is an amazing monumental “landmark” and the most celebrated symbol of China; whereas if you are traveling to Athens, Greece then the Acropolis is a must see.
- The natural beauty of the Grand Canyon of Arizona; Devils Tower, jutting 1,267 feet above the surrounding terrain in Wyoming and the mystique of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming as well, or a Giant Sequoia in Sequoia National Forest located in California are all monumental wonders known and seen by many.
Even in your own back yard in small town, USA, many wonderful natural monuments exist; perhaps not on as large a scale but still breathtaking in their own right.
Here is a short list of some well known and not so well known natural ‘monumental’ wonders. . .
Alabama boasts of numerous caves, especially in the Northeastern part of the state, where the Cathedral Caverns cave system holds four world records: (widest entrance of any commercial cave in the world; “Goliath, measuring 45’ tall and 243’ in circumference, is the largest column in the world; has the largest flow stone wall at 32’ tall and 135’ long; and, the most improbable formation in the world, with a 3” diameter stalagmite rising at a 45 degree angle from a rock formation to the cave ceiling 25’ above.”
Not to be rivaled by the beauty of the highest mountain peaks in Colorado is a desert-like area found in the easternmost parts of Alamosa and Saguache County, where some sand dunes rise 750 feet above the floor of the San Luis Valley. Note photo at the top of the page, of Great Sand Dunes National Park
Travel to Flora, Mississippi and you might discover a petrified forest, which is believed “to have been formed 36 million years ago when fir and maple logs washed down an ancient river channel to its current site,” and is the only Petrified Forest in the eastern U.S.
Georgia claims a number of natural wonders like Stone Mountain near Atlanta. The quartz monzonite dome reaches 1,686’ in elevation at its summit and extends underground, 9 miles at its longest point. However, another Georgia wonder, located near the town of Waycross in south Georgia; the trembling earth, also known as the Okefenokee Swamp is the largest blackwater swamp in North America, and one of the largest in the world.
For information on some of these natural and man-made wonders, visit these sites: