17 Of The Oldest Man-Made Structures On Earth

Of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one wonder still exists today: the crumbling, gorgeous Great Pyramids of Giza. But there are plenty of other ancient structures that deserve our attention too, from a 2000-year-old church to an almost 3000-year-old Buddhist temple that's made out of timber. Even more remarkable? Most of these building are still in use. Check out 17 of these tributes to human engineering, below.

The Santa Sophia (also known as Hagia Sophia) in Istanbul, Turkey has been church, mosque and museum since it was completed in 537 AD.

Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images


The Pantheon in Rome was built as a temple by Hadrian in 117 AD, and has been in continuous use throughout its history. It is one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings, now a museum and Roman Catholic church.

Picture: Dark Rome Tours & Walks


The church Santa Sabina in Rome, built in 422 AD, hasn't been changed since it was built, and is still in use by the Catholic Church.

Picture: Agniulka/Wikimedia Commons

Rome's Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo was completed in 139 AD and converted to a fortress around 400 AD. It's still a fortress (and a museum) today.

Picture: davidpc_/Flickr

The Colosseum once regularly hosted 50,000 Romans, eager to witness the blood and violence of the legendary gladiators. Because of its ruined state, these days it can only hold a few hundred people on temporary plastic seats for (horribly overpriced) cultural events. Larger concerts and Roman Catholic events are also held outside, using the Colosseum as a dramatic backdrop.

Picture: Franco Origlia/Getty Images


The Theatre of Marcellus once was Rome’s largest open-air theatre — built in the last years of the Republic. The building has undergone several modifications over its history, and today, the upper portion serves as apartments.

Picture: Mark Turner/Flickr

Ponte Fabricio, in Rome, was built in 62 BC. The bridge is almost unchanged, and still serves thousands of Romans today.

Picture: Tomaž Štolfa/Flickr


This is the Caravan Bridge over the river Meles in Izmir, Turkey. It was built around 850 BC, which makes it more than 2860 years old — qualifying as the oldest functioning bridge in the world.

Picture: Murat AY/Panoramio/Flickr

Likewise, the Church of the Nativity (565 AD, Bethlehem, West Bank, Israel) is one of the oldest church buildings in the world — today, it still hosts multiple church services every day.

Picture: Nadav Neuhaus/Getty Images

The Proserpina Dam (Merida, Spain) dates from the first or second century AD, and once fed the Roman aqueduct taking water to a nearby city. This ancient Roman gravity dam is still used by local farmers to irrigate crops.

Picture: JMN/Cover/Getty Images

Most of the thousand-year-old temples in Angkor, Cambodia, still serve religious function among the locals.

Picture: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo

The Nanchan Temple is a Buddhist temple near the town of Doucun on Wutaishan, in Shanxi Province, China. It was built in 782 AD, and its Great Buddha Hall is currently China's oldest preserved timber building in existence.

Picture: Zeus1234/Wikimedia Commons

The Basilica of Constantine at Trier, Germany is a Roman palace and basilica that was built at the beginning of the 4th century. Today it's used as church by a congregation within the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland.

Picture: Berthold Werner/Wikimedia Commons


The Acoma Pueblo, also known as "Sky City", is a Native American pueblo located west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Acoma tribal traditions estimate that they have lived in the village for more than 2000 years.

Picture: tunnelarmr/Flickr

The Mosque of Uqba (670 AD) aka the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia, is one of the oldest mosques in the world.

Picture: Andrew Watson/Flickr


The ancient Stonehenge is still a place of religious significance for Neopagan and New Age believers, and particularly for the Neo-druids.

Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images


The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse near A Coruña, Galicia, in north-western Spain. The structure is almost 1900 years old and still in use today.

Picture: Alfonso Maseda


Comments

    Had to include a gun with the Church of the Nativity (565 AD, Bethlehem, West Bank, Israel) didn't we. Birth place of the prince of peace. That was par for the course I guess.

    No wonder he hasn't made a return visit, last time we beat shit out of him, whipped him then nailed him to a cross and killed him.

    And people wonder why aliens haven't contacted us yet.

    Last edited 08/06/13 3:28 pm

      I was going to mention the rifle photo and it's relevance to churches. Given that religion has been one of the bloodiest organisations on the planet..... ever!

        Not refuting that point at all (hell you got my upvote lol) but they probably coulda picked a better picture.

        Last edited 09/06/13 12:07 am

        @valhalla @weresmurf @sockparty
        Hmmm... Looks like I may have offended "Valhalla" What's up? You don't believe me?
        Thanks to weresmurf and sockparty too, nice to know religious types are keeping up, at least I assume you guys are religious? Not sure why you'd be so pissed off otherwise... :)

        Last edited 09/06/13 12:24 pm

        LOL! Nothing like a completely unsubstantiated myth to begin the day. Do some research. Atheistic regimes have killed scores of millions in a measly few years just recently. I guess you think religious people all thought the world was flat too. Facts people, facts, not unsubstantiated nonsense.

          Nothing like a completely unsubstantiated mythSeriously? Firstly, I said 'one' of the biggest causes of death, not the biggest! However I think a quick Google comparison will give figures that show religion has the highest amount throughout history!
          Atheistic regimes have killed scores of millions in a measly few years just recentlyWhich Atheistic war would that be exactly? Maybe you should do some research of your own. Oh, and by the way look up the amount of killing around the world being done in the name of Allah...

          Last edited 10/06/13 12:08 pm

      "No wonder he hasn't made a return visit, last time we beat shit out of him, whipped him then nailed him to a cross and killed him."

      "and killed him"

      People don't just come back from the dead.

    Have seen most of the structures in Rome, also Stonehenge. Still desperately need to visit the Hagia Sophia, one of the most beautiful and impressive examples of architecture, in my view.
    Not a good time at the moment to visit, though.
    That photo of the Church of the Nativity must have been taken in 2002, when the IDF were operating there and laid siege to the church harboring Palestinians (some of them were wanted by the Israelis). Normally Bethlehem is fully under Palestinian control.

      You've seen some amazing places, you have my complete and utter jealousy!

      (and admiration!)

        To be honest, I have seen many interesting places when I was younger and could not properly appreciate it. Now that I am more keen to see such things, I usually do not have the time. Oh well...

          But you've still seen them and have the memories, at least there's that :)

      The Hagia Sofia is very very impressive, as is Turkey in general. As a bonus the Blue Mosque is right next door, which when you get inside is refreshingly simple. After going into so many catholic churches throughout Europe, which are filled with paintings and statues, there was something really beautiful about the inside of the Blue Mosque.

        I'll be there in a bit over a week from now, can't wait :)

    I cannot believe the Pyramids were not mentioned.. what is older??
    Or Parthenon in Greece for that matter.

      Mate, first two sentences of the article:
      Of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one wonder still exists today: the crumbling, gorgeous Great Pyramids of Giza. But there are plenty of other ancient structures that deserve our attention too,

      This isnt about the oldest well-known structures, but about places most people are likely not as aware of. The Parthenon arguably falls into the same category.

      Last edited 09/06/13 4:26 pm

    Good article....thanks. I hope my new flat pack tv unit from IKEA lasts as long.

      It'll last longer than that pre-fab skyscraper Chinas building...

    When things were built to last.

    Why didn't the Great Wall of China make it into here at all? Technically it's a structure that's been around since 400-200BC (it took around that long to build the entire thing).

      that is because the one you see today is entirely different from the original one. afaik, the one you see today is from the ming dynasty which came about in the 14th century. the one you spoke of came from the qin dynasty, it is in a different location from the ming dynasty one and very little of it remains.

        Great Wall was not finished until the 16th century. I also understand what you mean though, it was started back then but I can also see why it was excluded.

    Well this is older. Every year on the winter solstice the sun lines up with the window and lights up the passage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange/

    try something over 40,000 yrs old
    http://www.visitnsw.com/things-to-do/tours/brewarrina-aboriginal-fishtraps-guided-tour

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