Cool Things Carved Into Mountains & Cliffs Around the World

You probably know about Mount Rushmore, the big granite faces of U.S. presidents in North Dakota, but that is only one of many mountains that have something cool carved into them. From religious figures to entire cities, the world is full of things have been chipped away out of the huge stone walls of cliffs. Some of the landmarks carved into mountains are precise and dramatic, others are old and spectacular, but all are seriously impressive.

Just look at the Lycian tombs in Turkey, for example. The carvings date back to the days of Sparta, when the Greeks and Trojans waged war. Not cool enough? How about an ancient Turkish carved city that is now a modern day hotel? Sounds like just about the best way to learn about history ever.

Some of the monuments carved in mountains look like they're straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. They are truly sights to behold, and you'll get to do just that here. Check out the coolest things carved into cliffs ever.

  • Leshan Giant Buddha
    Photo: Wilson Loo Kok Wee / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    The Leshan Giant Buddha in China is exactly what it sounds like: a really, really big Buddha. The impressive sculpture was created centuries ago and still stands 233 feet tall, dwarfing all those who come to gaze upon it.
  • Ellora

    Photo: Giles Clark / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Ellora in India is home to some of the most astounding rock carvings in the world. All up and down the hillside are intricate carvings that make up three different temples, each dedicated to a different religion. 
  • The Cliff Palace was built in the 11th-century and is one of the most spectacular features of early life in America. The dwellings are located in Colorado and feature intricate layouts and impressive architecture.
  • Lycian Tombs

    Lycian Tombs
    Photo: *aliza* / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    The Lycian Tombs are located in Turkey and were carved by a people who were notorious for being conquered by other, stronger communities. Nonetheless, the tombs are a testament to the mysterious Lycian people who left little else to be remembered by. 
  • Kailashnath Temple

    Kailashnath Temple
    Photo: Bachellier Christian / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    The incredible Kailashnath Temple in in Maharashtra, India was carved out of a single cliff of volcanic rock. The large temple was created over a millennia ago, when individuals started carving from the top of the cliff and worked their way down with meticulous precision.
  • Longmen Caves

    Longmen Caves
    Photo: Xuan Che / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    If you're a fan of Buddha, the Longmen Caves in China are the perfect place for you. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to tens of thousands of ancient statues and carvings of Buddha and his followers.