Travel planning and booking site TripAdvisor today announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards for Landmarks. The most loved tourist attraction is the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Pichu, which sits atop the Andes Mountains in Peru.
India’s very own Taj Mahal took the fifth spot in the list of 10 best landmarks.
Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.
Here are the top 10 landmarks in the world.
Often described as ‘the most beautiful church in the world, this Gothic cathedral in Milan took almost six centuries to be completed. Work started in 1386 and lasted till 1965. The church has elaborate buttresses and offers spectacular views of the city from its rooftop.
One of the most iconic sites in the US, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington has been witness to many historic events, including Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech. It’s also featured in various movies like Forrest Gump, and is visited by 4-6 million people every year.
The Alhambra, a medieval fortress and palace, in Granada was originally built for military purposes, but was also used as a Christian court later in 1492 during the Inquisition. Over the centuries, many structures were added to it, such as a Fransiscan monastery and a garrison. It’s one of the most-visited landmarks in Spain and was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1984.
The multi-coloured cathedral in Saint Petersburg has various names: the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the Church of the Savior on Blood and the Church on Spilt Blood. It was built by Tsar Alexander III on the site where his father, Alexander II, was assassinated in 1881.
Originally called the Great Mosque of Córdoba, it was converted into a Christian cathedral in the 13th century when Spain’s Christian monarchy conquered the city. Over the centuries it went back and forth between Catholic church and mosque, and for a brief period the two religions even split the building!
Today, it’s most famous for it’s awe-inspiring 856 pillars of jasper, onyx, marble, and granite. The most famous aspect is the alternating red and white arches which are said to be inspired by those in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
The famous monument of love was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 as a mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It took 17 years to complete, and was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1983. It attracts about 3 million visitors a year.
The world’s second-largest Christian church, the Basilica is the cornerstone of the Catholic empire. It is famous for the dome designed by the renowned Renaissance artist Michelangelo, which is 400 ft tall and 138 ft in diameter.
Angkor was the center of the Khmer Empire, which ruled Cambodia from the 9th to 15th centuries. The ancient city stretches over 650 sq km and is best known for the Temple of Angkor Wat, which is the largest religious structure in the world. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu but over the centuries transformed into a Buddhist temple.
This massive mosque in Abu Dhabi took 10 years to complete and was inspired by the idea of “uniting the world”. It has the world’s largest carpet and can accommodate 41,000 worshipers at one time. The mosque’s most spectacular aspect is its 82 pure white domes.
This ancient city was built by the Incas in the 15th century, but was abandoned when the Spaniards invaded Peru. It was rediscovered in 1911 and is renowned for its dry-stone walls, which were built without the use of mortar. Machu Pichu is considered to be one of the new ‘Seven Wonders of the World’.
So, ready to pack your bags?