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16 Facts We Just Learned About Monuments That Made Us Say 'Whoa'

Updated March 18, 2021 24.7k votes 4.6k voters 367.0k views16 items

List RulesVote up the lesser known facts you're excited to have finally learned.

So many people find that when they're older and have long since left a classroom they've only learned about the tip of the knowledge iceberg. Concerning monuments, it's not uncommon that much of the history or reasons behind it being built are typically forgotten. Even more often, they're just not taught in schools. 

Monument facts can be so fun to learn. Who knew there was a mini version of the Washington Monument? Or that the Taj Mahal has been disguised multiple times in its history? And facts about monuments can actually be some of the best things to know and bring up in cocktail parties or trivia. Who wouldn't want to see the shocked faces of people who also had never learned the Sphinx has a tail? Check these out, and see how many cool facts there are about some of the most famous monuments worldwide.

  • Photo: Rabax63 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    The Pantheon Isn't Reinforced - And Isn't Crumbling, Either

    From Redditor u/Hyadeos:

    TIL that the Pantheon, in Roma, holds the record for the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, and presents no signs of weakening more than 1800 years after its rebuilding.

    Context: Because it was built well before reinforcement was required by builders, the Pantheon is a solid concrete structure. Despite not meeting the requirements of modern buildings, it still stands strong nearly 2,000 years after being built. A key part in its survival is the mix of material sin the concrete - namely limestone and volcanic ash. Such materials are suspected to add a reinforcement level of their own.

    Cool to know?
  • 2

    The Biggest Monument Ever Is A Pyramid In Mexico

    From Redditor u/Jay_B_:

    TIL that Mexico's Great Pyramid of Cholula is the largest monument ever constructed on earth, having nearly twice the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza. A pre-classical masterpiece, it was found to be part of a vast complex of interwoven rooms and temples. Excavations are ongoing.

    Context: This massive pyramid is often mistaken as a hill because it's been overridden with grass and shrubbery. Nonetheless, what stands below the greenery is the largest man-made pyramid. It wasn't demolished when the Spanish invaded the area as it probably wasn't seen as a holy site like other churches had been that were torn down. 

    Cool to know?
  • 3

    The Taj Mahal Was Disguised During WWII

    From Redditor u/ThatGuy69696:

    TIL the Taj Mahal was covered with a huge scaffold during WW2 to make it look like a stockpile of Bamboo and misguide any enemy bombers. (It was also disguised again in 1971!)

    Context: While there aren't many pictures depicting this, nor are there pictures of the entire structure disguised, it's documented that the top of the Taj Mahal was covered in scaffolding during the years of WWII. It's alleged that this scaffolding disguised the structure as bamboo to keep pilots from bombing the landmark. 

    Cool to know?
  • 4

    The Georgia Guidestones Lay Out Post-Apocalyptic Societal Rules

    From Redditor u/Onedayatat1m3:

    TIL that there is a monument in Georgia which gives instructions in 8 languages on how to rebuild society after an unknown apocalyptic event, whilst also functioning as a compass, calendar and clock

    Context: The Georgia Guidestones were completed in 1980 and are inscribed to provide rules to continue society in the "Age of Reason." There are 10 rules engraved in eight different languages on the stones that the new society should abide by. They include cherishing nature, keeping population capped, and more. The structure also serves as a calendar and a clock by using holes in the stones to shine the sunlight on particular marks. 

    Cool to know?