When planning a trip, it isn't unusual to make sure that you see as many attractions as possible, making sure not to miss any at all. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't always work out that way. With so many beautiful and historical sites to see, it can be hard to choose which one to cut out.
Luckily for you, though, we have compiled a list of places that are so stunning that they are more than worth planning an entire trip to see. All of the items on this list are amazing pieces of architecture that have an equally amazing history. Something else they have in common? They are all absoluely worth visiting.
10 St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
When you go to Rome, it is extremely hard to miss the historical and religious landmarks. St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is a beautiful piece of artwork designed by some of history's best artists in the 1600s, including Michelangelo, Bramante, Bernini, as well as Maderno.
The church is said to be one of the holiest of churches in the world, despite the fact that it is not the head church of the Roman Catholic religion. The late Renaissance church is also rumored to be the place that St. Peter's body actually rests!
9 Stonehenge, Salisbury, England
Sitting just outside of Salisbury, England, is one of the country's most mysterious sights. If you've ever wondered how the heads on Easter Island came about, you'll think the same of these.
The strange structures, thought to have been built somewhere around 3000 BC to 2000 BC, is enough to make you question how advanced our early ancestors once were. This is one of the most popular tourist sites in the U.K., also attracting architects and archeologists alike. The World Heritage Site is also thought to have been associated with burial rituals from its earliest moments of existence.
8 Petra, Jordan
Petra, a settlement in the Arab country of Jordan, is home to Al Khazneh, which translates to "The Treasury." It may look familiar to those of you who are Indiana Jones fans since it was the entrance to the Holy Grail in the famous movie.
The beautiful architecture in the solid, pink rock has earned the site the nickname "Rose City". It's also an extremely old and historical site, estimated to have been settled as early as 9000 BC. This popular site sees about 800,000 tourists every year.
7 Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh, India
One of the most iconic structures in the world, the Taj Mahal, has a pretty amazing backstory. If your history teacher didn't cover it, here it is: In the early 1630s, the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan died during the birth of her 14th child. In his grief, the emperor commissioned the design and construction of the Taj Mahal, a temple dedicated to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Supposedly, Shah Jahan was so proud of the white marble temple that he cut off the hands of the architects and builders to ensure that they would never build such a structure ever again.
6 The Parthenon, Athens, Greece
Athens, Greece is already an amazing city with a great amount of history and beauty behind it. However, the old, crumbling structure that sits within its borders has a story all its own. The Parthenon was a temple built in honor of the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin).
Work on the structure began in 447 BC and continued until 438 BC, which is pretty impressive considering the time and resources the workers would have needed to complete a structure like this. The Parthenon has remained relatively intact, although it has suffered some physical damage throughout the years.
5 Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a ruined city from pre-colonial America (specifically the Inca Empire) and was once home to Native American settlers. From 1438 to 1533, the settlement actually made up quite a large part of the South American population.
Thought to be built in the 12 century, the population lacked many of the resources that the old world had for years. They were, however, very resourceful and managed to make things like farming possible. Now, you can make the four-day hike all the way to the top of the mountain and look down on the ancient civilization, which is slowly beginning to crumble.
4 Moai Statues, Easter Island, Chile
The Moai Statues that guard the Chilean island, Easter Island, have baffled historians and archeologists since their discovery in 1722. Now, the only things that we can gather from the ominous guardians is that they were built from volcanic ash by our late ancestors in about 1200 AD.
With nearly 1000 of them littering the island, they are a reminder that even though humans have become quite advanced in technology nowadays, humans were once already advanced. There are many structures in the world that are very similar to the Easter Island heads, in that we aren't quite sure how they would have been constructed.
3 Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is already an incredibly historical city. During the Byzantine Empire (which was once described as the Eastern Roman Empire), the man in charge, Constantine, actually named Istanbul the capital of his great empire, but under a very different name: Constantinople.
Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox church that was built during that time, but became an Ottoman Mosque after the Byzantine Empire fell. Now it is a museum that you can go into and admire the gorgeous architecture from about 360 AD. It was once considered the "eighth wonder of the world".
2 The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum is one of Rome's most well-known structures and is known as the amphitheater where gladiators would fight to the death. Construction of the great amphitheater began somewhere between 70 and 73 AD, but wasn't completed until 80 AD.
As soon as it was finished, it was recognized as the Roman world's largest amphitheater. Its first 100 days in operation were marked by a complete 100 days of games, which is quite a long time to keep that going! Now, the historical structure is crumbling, suffering quite a bit of damage after natural disasters, weather, and (unfortunately) vandalism.
1 Cairo, Egypt
As the capital of the South African country, Cairo is home to many historical sites, including the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, which are just on its outskirts, as well as the Egyptian Museum, which features 27 mummies and over 12,000 items to explore. It's impossible to pick out any one sight!
Once a very important shipping port during the time that the silk road became a little less important, the city is now a jackpot of beautiful architecture to be seen and stories to be heard. We recommend getting a guide for this one, especially since there is so much to see!