Angkor Wat is easily the most recognizable temple in Cambodia as well as one of the most beautiful. It was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II to act as his state temple and capital city. The best example of Khmer architecture, which includes many bas-reliefs and devatas, Angkor Wat is unique in that it is the only such temple that is oriented towards the west.
Machu Picchu, known to many as “The Lost City of the Incas”, is the most impressive remainder of the Incan Empire. It was built in 1462 AD and abandoned only a hundred years later, which saved it from plunder and destruction at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, who were unaware of its location. American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. The three primary structures are the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana Stone, an astronomical clock or calendar that has been dubbed “The Hitching Point of the Sun”.
The Parthenon is an elegantly crafted symbol, not only of Ancient Greece, but also of the very roots of democracy. The current building was built Pericles in the mid-5th century BC as a Doric temple to the goddess Athena and also as a treasury for the Delian League. Many of the sculptures, referred to as the marbles, have been removed and now reside in the British Museum, the Louvre and other museums despite efforts by the Greek government to return them to their proper place.
The Taj Mahal is one of the most stunning structures in the world and the story behind its construction is just as beautiful. The Taj was built between 1632 and 1653 by Emperor Shah Jahan to serve as a mausoleum and monument to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was constructed by twenty thousand workers from marble and inlayed with twenty-eight different kinds of precious and semi-precious stones from across India and Asia.