Highlights of stunning creations around the world that capture our humanity.
Built as a structural wonder to welcome the world for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower has become a widely-recognized attraction that millions of people throughout the globe ascend each year. The tallest structure in Paris is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world.
French civil engineer Alexandre Gustav Eiffel was well-known for building various bridges for the French railway system, but he is best-known worldwide for the Eiffel Tower, built as the centerpiece for the 1889 Universal Expo in Paris. Eiffel also contributed to the building of the Statue of Liberty and after retiring from engineering, made significant contributions in meteorology and aerodynamics.
He told the Société des Ingénieurs Civils the tower would symbolize “not only the art of the modern engineer but also the century of industry and science in which we are living,” and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.
Man may have invented the wheel from the beginning of time, but a case could be made that civil engineer George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., reinvented it. The Galesburg, Illinois, native is credited for creating the original Ferris wheel for the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
The directors of the exposition challenged American engineers to come up with an invention that would surpass the Eiffel Tower. The challenge was for something “original, daring and unique.” Ferris designed a wheel visitors could board and see the entire exhibition. He suggested it would “out-Eiffel Eiffel.” While planners originally feared the wheel would not be safe, they were convinced it was possible after Ferris secured several respectable endorsements from other engineers.
Ferris’s’ wheel stood 264 feet high and had 36 cars, each with 40 revolving chairs that could accommodate up to 60 people, or 2,160 in total. It was an enormous hit. About 38,000 people rode the wheel daily, which took 20 minutes to complete two revolutions. The fifty-cent attraction drew 2.5 million passengers before it was demolished in 1906 and had earned nearly a three-quarters of a million dollars profit.
Today Ferris wheels are the most common ride at state fairs in the United States. They are globally popular, and among the most notable are the Singapore Flyer, which at 541, is the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the Star of Nanchang in Nanchang, Jiangxi, China, and the London Eye, one of the tallest wheels in Europe.
These popular structures dot the globe, and Jay Pender, commercial manager of World Tourist Attractions, says business is booming. “We find that in places like Belfast they have become symbols of resurgence.” Many cities around the world cherish their Ferris Wheel, including a wheel that provides a backdrop for the boats nesting in Cape Town, South Africa.
The London Eye is an attraction that London didn’t know it needed. It was constructed as a temporary structure at the turn of the 21st century to welcome the dawn of a new millennium, but now 3.5 million visitors annually flock to the Eye. It represents a Britain looking forward and lifting people from the ground to give them an unparalleled perspective of the historic city
Early evidence of humanity’s desire to express itself through art was discovered quite by accident in September of 1940 when four French teenagers shimmied down a hole near Montignac and discovered a vast underground cavern with 2,000 ancient paintings and engravings on its walls. The paintings now believed to be between 15,000 and 17,000 years old became known as the Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art as word spread throughout Europe about the astonishing discovery at the Lascaux cave.
United States and France
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) may be the most symbolic symbol of freedom in the United States, and it was a gift from France as a symbol of gratitude.
The colossal neoclassical sculpture by Frederic Bartholdi has been standing on Liberty Island in New York Harbor since 1886, the statue represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. She carries a torch and the tablet she holds is inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence.
French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi is best known for designing Liberty Enlightening the World, better known as the Statue of Liberty. The artist, born in Colmar, France Aug. 2, 1834, studied many art styles before deciding to dedicate himself to colossal statues. His Good Samaritan-themed sculpture group was later created in bronze. His interest in humanity is also reflected in a lighthouse he proposed called “Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia.” (It was not commissioned.) He made his first trip to the United States in 1871 and successfully persuaded France to gift the United States with a work that honored the centennial of American independence.
It is a natural desire to seek protection, which a group of Chinese farmers near the city of Xian discovered in 1974 while digging a well. One of the shovels struck the head of a buried statue, which led to the discovery of about 8,000 life-size terracotta soldiers, horses and chariots that had been constructed to guard 3rd century B.C. emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in the afterlife. Amazingly, each detailed soldier’s face is unique and has a rich artistic appeal. This great 20th-century archaeological discovery provides invaluable insight to early Qin militia, culture, and economics.
A society that protected its residents from danger is found in Turkey’s Cappadocia region where dozens of underground cities carved from volcanic ash by ancient inhabitant were uncovered in 1963. A local man remodeling his home knocked down a wall, which revealed a passageway that leads to a vast network of tunnels and chambers. Called Derinkuyu, it contains 18 stories and space for 20,000 people to live. While much remains unknown about the underground city, excavations have revealed halls, shops, freshwater wells, stables, and heavy stone doors.