In recent news of the Sagrada Familia set to finish construction by 2026, taking over 140 years to complete, travel booking site OMIO analysed 45 of the most popular landmarks around the world to reveal which iconic construction has taken the longest to complete.
Recognised by their aesthetics and historical importance, landmarks are not only easily recognisable but attract thousands of enthusiastic tourists around the world every single day.
2,500 Years- The Great Wall Of China, Beijing
Coming in at number one in the ranking for the longest time of construction is the Great Wall of China, taking approximately 2,500 years to complete. Ordered to be built by Emperor Qin Shi Huang as a wall of defence, construction of the wall started in the 7th century and was completed by 1878. This breathtaking structure stretches 21,000 miles across 15 Chinese provinces and has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world with over 10 million visitors each year.
The general admission price to visit the wall starts at 20 yuan, but children under 1.2 metres can enter for free. For those activity seekers, you can book a guided hiking trail which typically takes around 5 days to complete, or if you want to travel in style through the variety of transport options to get across the wall like a cable car or down the toboggan slide, this will come at an additional cost.
1,500 years- Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Built in several stages over many years, Stonehenge stands as one of England’s most historic monuments dating back as early as 3000BC and secures second place on the list taking around 1,500 years to build. With the hashtag stonehenge accumulating 906K posts on Instagram alone, this carefully built monument seems to continue to appeal to many with several creators sharing their snaps of the historic landmark.
1,300 Years- Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy
The captivating, remote island of Mont Saint Michel is one of the most famous landmarks in France and ranks third on the list, taking 1,300 years to build. With the first bricks being laid in the 18th century by St.Aubert, bishop of Avranches, the now picturesque landmark offers a stunning view of the tide and is steeped in medieval history where tourists can enjoy different cultural events and guided tours across the island.
632 Years- Cologne Cathedral, Cologne
Renowned for being the largest twin-spired Gothic church in Northern Europe, this 157m tall building ranks next on the list, beginning construction in 1214 and completed by 1880– taking 632 years to complete. The cathedral’s design was directly influenced by cutting-edge structures like the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris pushing the boundaries to what was then physically possible with the structure still dominating the city’s skyline. Flooded with 2,000 visitors daily, the church offers guided tours with a chance to visit the church’s state-of-the-art tower and treasury.
200 years- Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
Ranked number 5 on the list is the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa taking approximately 200 years to build, starting construction in 1173 and declared finished in 1372. A must-see if visiting the city of Pisa, the tower measures just over 56.6M on the highest side and 55.8M on its lowest and this architectural masterpiece is the third oldest building built in Pisa’s Cathedral Square. This structure is also alongside one of the most photographed landmarks on social media with the hashtag #leaningtowerofpisa accumulating 328K posts, where creators have shared their creative perspective snapshots of them beside the building.