I have mentioned in the earlier articles that I am very much fond of architecture, in fact, I once considered it as a career. I decided to create a list of ten of the oldest buildings (structures) in the world, just to get an idea and impart an idea about the period when the concept of construction began. Most of these sites happen to be under UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a few of them date back to the Neolithic periods. I hope you have enjoy the read.
10. GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA
The Great Pyramid of Giza is located in Egypt and was first built in 2650 BC. It is the great Tomb for Pharaoh Khufu of the fourth dynasty. It is the largest of the three pyramids in Giza and it is also the oldest of the seven wonders in the world. It also happens to be the only one to remain intact to such a degree. It is believed that it took around 20 years to build and stood 146.5 meters tall initially. The interesting bit is that when it was it was first built, the outer surface was smooth. What we see now, is what was beneath that outer surface.
Caral is another pyramid which is located in Peru in South America. It was first built in 2600 BC and is the oldest building in Southern America. Caral was inhabited between 2600 and 2000 BCE, expanding over an area of over 60 hectares. It was described as the oldest urban center in the land. This claim was challenged when other sites were discovered in the area. It accommodated around 3,000 people and is one of the largest Norte Chico sites known to mankind.
8. PYRAMID OF DJOSER
The Pyramid of Djoser is in Egypt (you think of a pyramid and Egypt it is) and as first built between 2667 and 2648 BC. It is a burial site as with all the other pyramids. The Pharaoh Djoser is buried here. The pyramid was around 62 meters tall originally with a base of 109 by 125 meters. It was polished with white limestone. Djoser was either the first or the second king of the 3rd Dynasty and it is believed that he ruled for a period of nineteen years. I wonder why you would build an entire pyramid to bury a person; it obviously is such hard work.
7. MONTE D’ACCODDI
It is located in Italy and was first built between 2700 and 2000 BC. It was discovered in 1954. The base of the structure is a 27 by 27 meter square. The walls of the building are said to have stood around 5.5 meters tall. It is not certain what the place was used for, but it has been described as an altar, a temple and a step pyramid. It would be interesting to get a lock on the usage of these buildings and I hope the archaeologists are somehow able to determine exactly what happened here. It is interesting how the construction of buildings date back to so many years ago.
6. HULBJERG JATTESTUE
This place is located in Denmark and was first built in 3000 BC. It is said to be a passage grave. It is a cultural site. There were around seven passage graves within a square kilometer of this site when the area was explored by Petersen in 1874. Not a lot of information regarding this site is available, although, if you are in Denmark, I can tell you exactly how to reach it. Though, I think that wouldn’t be of much use.
Newgrange can be found in Ireland and it was first built in 3000 BC. It is one of the oldest passage tombs in the world. It was built during the Neolithic Period. It is uncertain exactly what the site was used for but some say that it had a religious significance. It is aligned with the rising sun that would flood the stone room. After the initial use, the entrance to the building was sealed and it remained that way for a very long time to come. The Newgrange is also associated with folklore and mythology.
4. SKARA BRAE
Skara Brae can be found in Scotland. It is a burial site and was first built between 3100 and 2900 BC. It is a Neolithic settlement and is located on the Bay of Skaill. It has ten houses. It happens to be one of the UNESCO World Hertiage Sites and it is one of the most well-preserved which is why it is referred to as the ‘Scottish Pompeii’. It is older than the Great Pyramids and the Stonehenge. At the site, many carved stone balls were found which are now on display in different museums. It is rather interesting, how these buildings survive the test of time.
3. MEGALITHIC TEMPLES OF MALTA
These are a series of monuments in Malta. Seven of these are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The archaeologists believe that they were erected as a result of cultural evolution. They were first built between 3500 and 2500 BC and are described as they oldest free-standing monuments in the entire world. Evidence has been found that there was human activity around the area dating back to almost 5000 BC. The evidence included pottery, remains of fire and bones. The dating of various phases of the temples is not an easy job therefore the uncertainty.
2. KNAP OF HOWAR
The Knap of Howar is located in Scotland and they were first built between 3700 and 3100 BC. It can be found on the island of Papa Westray. It happens to be the oldest preserved stone house in Northern Europe. The house is on a farmstead which consists of two rectangular buildings. They have low doorways that face towards the sea. The walls are around 1.6m high, although it is thought that they stood higher. Interestingly, the stone furniture in the house is still intact which gives a very good idea of the lifestyle.
Known as the Cairn of Barnenez, it is located near Plouezoc’h in northern Finistere, Britanny in France. It is a Neolithic monument and dates back to around 4500 BC. It is considered as one of the earliest monuments in Europe. The first phase of this particular monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC while the second phase stood between 4450 and 4000 BC, easily making it the earliest structure on the planet Earth. It was first mapped in 1807. The restoration of this monument took place between the year 1954 and 1968.