Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

25 of mankind's greatest engineering achievements

By Tamara Hinson, for CNN
updated 12:00 PM EST, Sun December 22, 2013
The Palm islands comprise approximately 100 million cubic meters of rock and sand. <!-- -->
</br>In total, 210 million cubic meters of rock, sand and limestone were reclaimed (through dredging) to create the islands, with 10 million cubic meters of rock used in the outer ring alone. The rocks used for both islands were transported from 16 quarries throughout the UAE and the materials used are enough to build a wall that could circle the world three times. <strong>Completion date:</strong> September 24, 2008. The Palm islands comprise approximately 100 million cubic meters of rock and sand.
In total, 210 million cubic meters of rock, sand and limestone were reclaimed (through dredging) to create the islands, with 10 million cubic meters of rock used in the outer ring alone. The rocks used for both islands were transported from 16 quarries throughout the UAE and the materials used are enough to build a wall that could circle the world three times. Completion date: September 24, 2008.
HIDE CAPTION
The Palm, Dubai
Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain
Great Wall of China, China
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Trans-Siberian Railroad, Russia
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, Akashi Strait, Japan
White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Canada
Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo
International Space Station
Teotihuacan, Mexico
Panama Canal, Panama
Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan
Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona, United States
Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai
Millau Viaduct, Millau, France
London Underground, London
Kansai Airport, Osaka, Japan
Hoover Dam, Arizona/Nevada, United States
Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Confederation Bridge, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Colosseum, Rome
CN Tower, Toronto, Canada
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dubai's Palm Islands comprise 100 million cubic meters of rock and sand
  • Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico, is third tallest pyramid in the world
  • London Underground is used for more than 1 billion journeys every year

(CNN) -- A fair number of impressive construction plans have been announced this year, from Norway's intention to create the world's first shipping tunnel to Maldives' plans for a space age underwater hotel to Dubai's plans for the world's biggest shopping mall.

How do these announcements stack up against what's already out there?

We've compiled 25 of what we think are some of the most impressive engineering/construction achievements to date, taking into consideration the era in which they were built and the knowledge and materials that were available to designers.

Many were inspired by the human impulse to travel, and those that weren't can be enjoyed by travelers today.

Engineering can, of course, also include electronics and other micro-feats -- arguably computers and smartphones are among the most successful, popular and influential pieces of engineering ever created -- but we're interested here in big, bold and brave.

Click through the gallery to see our selection, then let us know if you have additions in the comments section.

Getting there

The Palm, Dubai, UAE

There are several tour operators within Dubai offering boat tours of the Palm.

Aqueduct of Segovia, Segovia, Spain

Segovia is an easy day trip from Madrid and can be reached by both train and bus.

Great Wall of China, China

Beijing International airport is the closest airport to any point of the Great Wall of China -- it's a short taxi ride to the section known as Badaling Great Wall and there are regular bus services.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Regular bus and train services connect New Delhi with Agra.

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia

The full journey starts in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok, but passengers can join at numerous towns and cities en route.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE

The Burj Khalifa is located in downtown Dubai and is well connected by public transport.

Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, Akashi Strait, Japan

The bridge is a short drive from Kobe Airport.

White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Canada

Excursions start from Fraser, British Columbia. The nearest airport is in Vancouver.

Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo

From Ueno Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line), transfer to the TOBU SKYTREE Line at Asakusa Station -- the Skytree stop is a 14-minute journey.

International Space Station

Astronaut qualifications and a rocket.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Regular buses run to Teotihuacan from Mexico City.

Panama Canal, Panama

The Panama Canal is best explored by organized boat tour. Panama City's Tocumen International Airport is the nearest airport.

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

Take the Taipei MRT-Bannan Line to MRT Taipei City Hall Station. From there, walk toward Xinyi Road from exit number two to Taipei 101.

Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona

The nearest airports are Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport or the Las Vegas Airport. It takes around two hours to drive to the Skywalk from Las Vegas, but organized tours from the city are also available.

Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai

The building is a 20-minute walk from Dongchang Road Pier. The nearest subway station is Lujiazui Station.

Millau Viaduct, Millau, France

The nearest train station is in the town of Millau, which is well connected to cities and towns throughout France. The closest airport is Rodez-Marcillac -- a 25-minute drive away.

London Underground, London

London's Heathrow Airport is connected to the London underground.

Kansai Airport, Osaka, Japan

Kansai International Airport is connected to most of the major international hubs. Osaka is two hours from Tokyo on the Shinkansen bullet trains.

Hoover Dam, Arizona/Nevada

The nearest airport is in Las Vegas, 32 miles away.

Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

There are regular bus services from the center of Cairo and it's also just a short taxi ride.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Regular buses run to the bridge from downtown San Francisco, Marin County and Sonoma County.

Eiffel Tower, Paris

The closest Paris Metro station to the Eiffel Tower is Champ de Mars.

Confederation Bridge, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Travel to Prince Edward Island by ferry from New Brunswick. Charlottetown Airport is the island's largest airport.

Colosseum, Rome

There are regular buses to the site, and it's also possible to get there by tram -- look for the "Colosseo" stop.

CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

The CN Tower is in the heart of downtown Toronto. There are regular buses to Bremner Boulevard, where the tower is located.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, these itineraries make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:24 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Good cocktails combine with spectacular views across rivers, cityscapes and oceans at these bird-level drinkeries.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 10:26 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Cinema loves portraying the lives of expats. Sometimes it gets it right. Sometimes it casts Nick Nolte as a jungle king.
updated 9:17 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Don't be intimidated, says a local expert. Here's how to do China without the hassles
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
When your city has an unenviable reputation for insulting tourists and fleecing them for every cent, inviting hotel guests to pay what they want could be a risky move.
updated 3:10 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
1937 Auto Union V16 Streamliner, Audi Museum, Germany
With factory tours and collections of stunning vintage prototypes, southern Germany is petrolhead paradise.
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Every tourist destination has a flip side, a season when prices go down and savvy, flexible travelers can score big savings.
updated 3:11 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A Marrakech lamp bazaar
Morocco's Red City is crammed with stunning gardens, shaded souks and steamy bath houses.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Santo Stefano Island, Italy
Pristine beaches, unspoiled nature and few tourists -- a stretch on these former penal colonies is no longer a punishment.
updated 5:23 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Life in Joburg can be stressful. Luckily there are some exceedingly non-stressful places close by.
updated 5:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Istanbul skyline
CNN's Ivan Watson pays homage to the city he's called home for the past 12 years.
China notches up another superlative achievement as a Nanjing-based artist creates the world's largest and longest anamorphic painting.
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
In what is undoubtedly the world's "coolest" surf video, photographer Chris Burkhard endures freezing temperatures, blizzards and injury to capture Arctic waves and their riders.
updated 11:39 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one that travels between London and New York. It is the world's busiest route and there are few lengths airlines won't go to in the hopes of getting a piece of the action.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT