Every state, country, and continent has landmarks that it identifies with. Some have grown to become popular tourism destinations, earning the locals a significant amount of money and publicity. These landmarks often boast impressive architecture completed with stunning sculptures or designs. However, while these landmarks make great selfie backdrops, you’d be surprised at how long some took to build. Here is a list of some that took an eternity to construct.

1. Great Wall of China (2000 Years)

The Great Wall of China is the longest structure ever built by humans – it takes months to hike along the entire stretch. It runs from Lop Lake to Shanhaiguan. Earlier, there was a myth being propelled on social media that this structure is so big that it can be seen from space. Myths aside, the construction of the Great Wall of China started in (771-476 BC), taking about 2000 years to complete. Its construction took so long that different kingdoms took part in the process.

2. Stonehenge (1500 Years)

Stonehenge is one of the oldest monuments in England, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Historians date this landmark to 3000 BC, and it is believed that it took around 1500 years to build. The fact that no one knows why Stonehenge was built makes the landmark more intriguing.

That has opened room for speculation, with some people believing it was an alien landing site, whereas others say it was a burial ground. Built by the Paleolithic community, how they transported the gigantic stones from a distance of 200 miles remains a mystery. It’s also important to note that Stonehenge perfectly aligns with the summer and winter solstice. Therefore, a lot of attention to detail and time was spent creating it.

3. Mont Saint-Michel (1300 Years)

Mont Saint-Michel, one of France’s top tourist destinations, was built for 1300 years – its foundation was laid in the 8th Century by Bishop St. Aubert. This landmark is open to the public, and there are different types of guided tours where visitors can explore and adore the medieval architecture and fascinating history. Moreover, it’s on an island that provides scenic ocean views.

4. Cologne Cathedral (632 Years)

Now iconic, many obstacles throughout history affected the construction of the Cologne Cathedral. The initial construction of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany started in 1248. Like other churches built during that century, it embraced Gothic architecture.

Since it was huge (516 ft tall and 474 ft long), it took a long time to build, prompting many stakeholders to give up. 300 years later, the locals stopped contributing money to build the church because they considered the Gothic style outdated. Another 300 years later, the Gothic style was re-popularized, and by 1880, the church was complete.

5. Milan Cathedral (579 Years)

A visit to the Milan Cathedral in Italy will justify why it took so long to build. Started in 1386, every element in the iconic monument is exceptionally fascinating. Outside, there are bronze doors, ancient sculptures, and more than 100 spires stretching out to the sky. Inside is a gilded crypt, stained glass windows, and a unique patterned marble floor. The architects who built the Milan Cathedral took their time to ensure every detail stood out.

6. York Minster (392 Years)

For a long time, the date when the construction of the York Minster began has been hotly debated, with some saying it was 1220 and others 1230. However, the official website mentions that construction started in 1080 and was completed in 1472, implying that it took 392 years.

Even though this may seem like a very long time, the final presentation of the York Minster is nothing short of perfection. It measures 524 feet long by 235 feet tall, making it one of the biggest Gothic churches. Also, it has vast towers that make it visible from many parts of the city of York, not to mention its medieval stained-glass windows, measuring about 78 feet tall.

7. Leaning Tower of Pisa (200 Years)

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an architectural landmark whose construction started in 1173 and ended in 1372. It took almost 200 years to build, which is quite long considering it measures 55.8 meters high. In modern times, such buildings are erected in less than two years.

Be that as it may, the slanting posture, though unintentional, is what attracts many tourists to this landmark. The Leaning Tower of Pisa started to sink on one side during the 5th year of the construction, halting all building activities. Inside this tower, there is a spiral staircase.

8. Notre Dame de Paris (187 Years)

Notre Dame is a famous landmark in Paris and a must-visit for most tourists. Like most cathedrals built during the 12th century, the Notre Dame embraced a new Gothic style. The architects’ main goal was to ensure maximum light penetration while reducing the number of stones used to build. Construction of the Notre Dame started in 1163 and ended in 1345. However, over the years, it has been renovated several times. For instance, the wooden roof was recently replaced when it caught fire in 2019.

9. Buckingham Palace (150 Years)

Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the United Kingdom’s king, took 150 years to construct. It took so long because the property underwent many renovations, with most of them conducted by different people. Initially, the Buckingham Palace was the official townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham. It was later enlarged and renovated by Edward Blore and John Nash.

10. The Sagrada Familia (150+ Years)

Construction of the Sagrada Familia started in 1882 and is yet to be completed. This is quite understandable, considering the final result is projected to be an architectural masterpiece that will last for generations.

Although the Sagrada Familia’s construction has been ongoing for more than 150 years, its architects, led by Jordi Fauli, recently released a statement claiming it will be done by 2026. However, the possibility of this happening is slim because construction was stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic for the umpteenth time. The construction of this church was first halted when its architect, Antoni Gaudi, died in 1926. After that, nine different architects have worked on the project.

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Last Update: May 31, 2024