It can takes years and years of hard work, along with millions of dollars, to complete a building, landmark, or monument. Despite all that effort, sometimes, landmarks are left unfinished. The reasons can include lack of manpower, lack of funds, or even the deaths of those involved with the construction.
Some of the world’s unfinished landmarks are beautiful just the way they were left, and they deserve a visit. What is can be just as good as what was supposed to be. Here are ten famous unfinished landmarks from around the world.
10 Crazy Horse Memorial
When most people think of a gigantic mountain carving in South Dakota, they think of the famous Mount Rushmore. But there is another carving in the mountains of South Dakota that will dwarf Mount Rushmore—if it is ever completed. High in the Black Hills of South Dakota sits the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The project was started in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, and he worked on it until he died in 1982. Chief Henry Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Chief and invited him to carve a memorial honoring all native North Americans. The carving is supposed to be a representation of the Lakota leader Crazy Horse.
By the 1990s, Crazy Horse’s head had begun to emerge from the Black Hills. Most of the time spent carving so far has been on the head, which stands at 22 stories tall. Over the last seven decades, crews have blasted and hauled millions of tons of rock from the site. The entire carving will be more than 64 stories tall, and Crazy Horse’s eyes alone are 5 meters (17 ft) wide. Money from the project comes from admission fees and donations only, and it could take another several years just to finish carving his arm.
9 Mingun Pahtodawgyi
In the small town of Mingun, which lies in the Sagaing region in Northwestern Burma, you will find Mingun Pahtodawgyi. King Bodawpaya wanted to build the largest pagoda in the world. The gigantic construction process began in 1790, but the project was never completed.
King Bodawpaya acquired thousands of prisoners and slaves during his war campaigns, and he used them for the construction of this large project. The construction process started taking a toll on the state’s finances, and people created a prophecy which stated that the kingdom would perish as soon as the pagoda was completed. Variations of the prophecy also said that the king would also perish with the kingdom.
The unfinished pagoda is 50 meters (164 ft) high, which is one third of the proposed height, and its base is about 42 square meters (450 ft2). Huge cracks can be seen on Mingun Pahtodawgyi because of an earthquake in 1839. It is known as one of the largest piles of stone and brickwork in the world.
8 Hassan Tower
The Hassan Tower, also known as Tour Hassan, is a massive minaret in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The project, ordered by Yaqub al-Mansur in the 12th century, was supposed to be the tallest minaret in the world, and the mosque it was to be part of would have been the largest. Construction of the project came to an end, though, four years after the death of al-Mansur.
The huge mosque was going to be the centerpiece of the new capital and a celebration of the sultan’s victory over the Spanish Christians. The tower currently stands at 44 meters (144 ft) high, which is just over half of the intended height. There are about 200 columns scattered across the marble floor that indicate just how large the mosque would have been if finished—it would have been able to hold 20,000 worshipers at once. In 2012, the Hassan Tower was granted World Heritage Status.
7 Cathedral Of St. John The Divine
One of the largest churches in the world is an unfinished masterpiece. A guide to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 1921 proposed that it may take 700 years to complete the building due to the true Gothic building methods and the lack of a wealthy backing.
Right Reverend Horatio Potter helped start the movement to have the cathedral built, but he passed away in 1887, before any construction was started. His nephew, Henry Codman Potter, began to solicit financial support for the construction of the cathedral, and a 13-acre site was eventually purchased. The cornerstone was laid in 1892, the first service was held in 1899, and ground was broken for the nave in 1916.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. It is currently over a century old, and it will continue to be constructed over the coming decades. There is no timetable for when it will reach its completion because funding is currently being prioritized to serve the community in various ways.
6 Ta Keo
Ta Keo is a temple-mountain located in the ancient city of Angkor, and it contains five sanctuary towers arranged in a pyramid. It could have been one of the greatest temples ever constructed, and one of the largest, but it was never completed. Even though it is unfinished, the structure is large enough to see from afar. The main temple is five tiers high, and the final pyramid rises 14 meters (46 ft) higher than the second terrace. The five large towers are arranged to form a quincunx, and the outer walls are surrounded by a moat.
The large landmark is constructed from sandstone, and the reason for it not being completed is unknown. Recovered inscriptions suggest that construction was halted after lightning struck the temple, which is considered an evil omen. Some experts believe that the child king Jayavarman V struggled to maintain his throne, causing construction to never be finished. Even unfinished, the temple is a magnificent sight to see.
5 Pyramid Of Neferefre
The ancient Egyptian pharaoh Neferefre built a pyramid in the necropolis of Abusir. He died before the pyramid was completed, and it was soon converted into a mastaba and mortuary temple. The pyramid started with a large base approximately the size of the Pyramid of Sahure. Builders dug a pit in the middle of the base where the burial chamber would be located.
An entrance corridor was constructed on the north side, and a trench led from the entrance to the pit. Few remains were found of the pharaoh’s body, and they indicated that he died at the early age of 22 or 23. Only one step of the core of the pyramid was completed, giving it the shape of a mastaba. The mortuary temple was completed in three phases, and it consisted of an open vestibule and three chambers.
4 National Monument Of Scotland
The National Monument of Scotland sits high up on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Instead of being a national treasure as was hoped, it is often referred to as “Scotland’s shame” instead due to the amount of unfinished construction. The monument was going to be a memorial to Scottish soldiers and sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars, but it was never completed.
The foundations for the monument were laid in 1824, but construction came to a quick halt in 1829, when the money provided by public subscription ran out. There have been several attempts to finish the large monument, but it still remains very much unfinished. A completed version of the National Monument would have resembled the Parthenon in Athens, but the current structure only features 12 pillars.
3 La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, which was inspired by nature and faith, has been under construction since 1882. The basilica is currently 70-percent completed, and they are working on building the six central towers. After more than 130 years of construction, the site could be less than a decade away from reaching completion.
The total construction cost of the large Roman Catholic church located in Barcelona is almost impossible to figure, but the annual budget now is around $27 million and is paid by entrance fees and private donations. The tallest new tower will rise to 172 meters (564 ft), making it one of the tallest religious structures in Europe. The structure is on track to be finished by 2026, but some extra time could be needed for decorative elements.
2 Bara Kaman
Bara Kaman is the unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II, who was the eighth and second-to-last king of the Adil Shah dynasty in Bijapur (also known as Vijayapura) in India. The goal was to build a mausoleum more beautiful and large than anyone had ever seen. Bara Kaman means “12 arches” in English, and the building was supposed to consist of 12 arches built horizontally and vertically surrounding the tomb of Ali Adil Shah II.
Construction on the mausoleum began in 1672, but it was never completed. Ali Adil Shah was murdered by his own father before the work could be finished. It is said that once the mausoleum was completed, the shadow would haved touched Gol Gumbaz. Ali’s father did not want Bara Kaman to take away from Gol Gumbaz, so he killed his son to prevent him from completing the project.
The Archaeological Survey of India now takes care of the property. The garden in front is well-maintained, and visitors can enjoy the architectural skill of the arches and pillars that make the monument.
1 Ryugyong Hotel
The Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea should have been opened in 1989, but the structure was never completed. At that time, it would have been the seventh-largest skyscraper and the tallest hotel in the world. Construction of the large hotel began in 1987, but an economic depression halted work. The hotel was supposed to consist of 3,000 rooms, seven revolving restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, and lounges.
The pyramid-shaped hotel has yet to host a guest, but construction may soon resume on the 105-story building. There have been various times throughout the years where work was done on the hotel, but it has yet to open. There have been recent pictures showing cranes and construction vehicles outside the building, which may prove that construction will restart. The Ryugyong Hotel would be one of the most amazing places to visit if it ever sees a completion date.
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