The Longest and Most Arduous Construction Projects in History
It is easy to get frustrated when a building project goes on and on. Yet, even your seemingly endless pieces of work will pale into insignificance when compared to the following mammoth projects.
The Great Wall of China
Probably the most ambitious construction project ever carried out in human history, the Great Wall continues to astound visitors. Rather than one continuous piece of work, different sections were built centuries apart by several ruling dynasties. Work initially started in 770 BCE and ended over 2,000 years later, in 1633 AD. The whole thing spans 13,000 miles and some 10 million people visit it each year.
Among the sections, there was a 400-year stage to extend the original Qin Wall, with up to a million workers said to have died doing this. With modern construction projects, safety equipment such as a fixed access ladder helps to ensure a safer working environment even on giant projects at varying heights. The Ming Great Wall is the most recognisable stretch, and it was built from 1368 to 1644.
With no written records about its construction, Stonehenge is regarded as being one of the planet’s greatest historical mysteries. While there is still no common consensus on who built it and why they did so, radiocarbon dating on the stones gives us a good idea on when the work was carried.
Scientists believe that the first stones were put into place around 3,100 BCE, with work possibly going on from then until 2,000 BCE or later. We still aren’t sure of the techniques that were used to drag these massive stones across the country and into their final resting places. However, one of the current best estimates suggest that about 1,500 years were spent on it in total.
This stunning, red sandstone construction was made by the wealthy, nomadic tribes who settled here in the 6th century or so. Current estimates suggest that up to 5 centuries were needed to complete this hugely ambitious project with ingenious water storage systems among the most outstanding features. It has also been discovered that the city was cleverly designed to align with the sun.
It was abandoned around the 13th century, after earthquakes had badly damaged it. Western explorers only re-discovered Petra in 1812 and it quickly became regarded as one of the archaeological wonders of the world.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu, Giza
The incredible size of this pyramid and the precision of the work make it easy to believe that this pyramid took centuries to build. After all, it was the tallest man-made structure on the planet for over 3,800 years. This is also the only one of the original Seven Wonders to remain intact currently, despite being the oldest of them all.
Yet, historical documents suggest that the work only took 20 years to complete, from 2580 BCE to 2560 BCE. The reason that the work was carried out so quickly is that up to 100,000 skilled workers built it using advanced techniques. These workers were said to have been split into highly organised groups, who used 2.3 million blocks, and 500,000 tons of mortar among other materials.