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Random Ruined Famous Monuments

  • Great Sphinx of Giza on Random Ruined Famous Monuments

    (#2) Great Sphinx of Giza

    • Giza, Egypt

    Popular legend claims that Napoleon's gunners - whether on purpose or accidentally - shot off the Great Sphinx's nose during his 1798 campaign in Egypt.

    But sketches of the Sphinx, made decades earlier, show the nose was already gone. The culprit may be a man named Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, who, according to 15th-century Arab historian al-Maqrizi, took out the nose in 1378 because he was enraged after seeing peasants making pagan offerings to the ancient statue.

    A less-exciting explanation is that simple erosion did the job. But where's the fun in that?

  • Hadrian's Wall on Random Ruined Famous Monuments

    (#4) Hadrian's Wall

    • United Kingdom

    Hadrian's Wall, built in the 2nd century CE to secure the nothern frontier of the Roman Empire in the British Isles, is impressive for its length but otherwise not a terribly imposing structure these days. However, sources say it was once as much as 11 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

    After the Romans left Britain, the Wall's stone was used over the centuries by medieval Britons to build new structures. The stone, already cut, provided an easy resource for a population not particularly interested in historical preservation.

    There are bits of Hadrian's Wall all over the region, in buildings like St. Paul's Monastery at Jarrow and Lanercost Priory. Not until the 18th and 19th centuries did the plundering stop, thanks to the efforts of conservationists like John Clayton.

  • An Egyptian Obelisk Cracked During Construction And Was Left In The Quarry For 3500 Years on Random Ruined Famous Monuments

    (#9) An Egyptian Obelisk Cracked During Construction And Was Left In The Quarry For 3500 Years

    The city of Aswan, along the Nile in Southern Egypt, is home to a number of ancient stone quarries where the Egyptian pharaohs had many of their monuments constructed. Particularly striking is the Unfinished Obelisk, which was abandoned where it lay thousands of years ago because a large fissure was discovered near its center.

    Evidently commissioned by the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, the Obelisk would have stood 137 feet tall - more than 30 feet taller than the highest extant ancient obelisk, the Lateran Obelisk in Rome. But because of that crack, innumerable hours of backbreaking labor had to be abandoned.

  • The Serapeum of Alexandria Was The Site Of Urban Warfare Between Christians And Pagans on Random Ruined Famous Monuments

    (#10) The Serapeum of Alexandria Was The Site Of Urban Warfare Between Christians And Pagans

    Once a splendid temple complex that included an annex to the famous Library of Alexandria, the Serapeum was one of the most high-profile victims of the Christian/Pagan conflicts that raged across the declining Roman world in late antiquity.

    In 391, after riots following an anti-pagan edict by Theodosius, the patriarch of Alexandria, the temple became the site of a kind of urban warfare. The city's pagans barricaded themselves inside the Serapeum, and a mob of Christians (that may or may not have been aided by Roman soldiers) stormed the place. In the end, the temple was completely demolished; the only aboveground part that survives is a 100-foot-tall column known as Pompey's Pillar.

  • The Aztec Templo Mayor Was Torn Down By Spaniards Who Built A Cathedral With Its Stone on Random Ruined Famous Monuments

    (#6) The Aztec Templo Mayor Was Torn Down By Spaniards Who Built A Cathedral With Its Stone

    When Spanish conquistadores first beheld the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, they were astonished by its architectural splendor. Of course, that didn't stop them from conquering the city, deposing the Emperor, and tearing down some of the most impressive Aztec monuments.

    Chief among these was the Templo Mayor, a huge temple complex dominated by a massive step pyramid some 200 feet tall, where human sacrifice was performed on a nigh-industrial scale.

    After the Battle of Tenochtitlan and the subsequent establishment of Spanish rule in Mexico, the Spaniards used some of the Templo Mayor's stone in constructing the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, which still stands today. An archeological site and museum can be visited where the old temple once stood.

  • Parthenon on Random Ruined Famous Monuments

    (#1) Parthenon

    • Europe

    You might be forgiven for thinking that the Parthenon got its current battle-scarred look from WWII, but no: Athens fell to the Germans and Italians in 1941 without being bombarded.

    The Parthenon is so badly damaged because of an event which occurred two-and-a-half centuries earlier, on September 26, 1687. A Venetian force led by Captain-General Francesco Morosini fired an artillery shell at Ottoman forces dug in on the Acropolis. The shell was a direct hit on the 2000-year-old temple. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Ottomans had been using the Parthenon as a gunpowder depot. Massive damage ensued, forever scarring an irreplaceable cultural treasure.

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About This Tool

As a witness to a period of history, historical buildings are now receiving more and more attention and protection from governments. But in the past, they were unfortunately destroyed for various reasons, from accidental losses to man-made destruction, from war turbulence to natural disasters, precious cultural relics and historic sites are facing many potential disasters. 

They are all magnificent and fragile human memories and have important and unique historical, archaeological or religious significance. Many people are expressing heartache for the disasters that destroy monuments. The generator includes random 10 ruined famous monuments in the world.

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