There are some buildings around the world that are simply spectacular. In some, the architecture is eye catching and tells the story of a civilization. Others are geometrical marvels. The accuracy of design and construction are the most attractive features of these buildings. There are some others that are standing works of art. They have amazing sculpture on the outside and colorful murals on the inside. We visit them to behold their magnificence. One thing that most of these buildings and structures have in common is that they were built over a very long period of time. Here are 20 buildings and structures that took the longest time to build.

The Coliseum in Rome

This is a very famous Roman structure. It is well known to be the location where the legendary gladiators would fight. The coliseum took 10 years to finish. Construction began in AD 70 and ended in AD 80. Its original purpose was to be a venue for celebrating military victories. According to experts, the venue could hold a crowd of between 50,000 and 80,000. It stood more than 620 feet long and 157 feet high. It also had tunnels under the arena, arches, elevators and hydraulic systems. It was an engineering feat of excellence.

The Parthenon

Few other temples are as famous as this Grecian one. Construction of this temple began in 5 BC and ended at around 12 AD. It took 17 years for it to be completed. It was constructed to honor the goddess Athena. Moreover, all its proportions were measured according to the Golden Ratio. This was so that the Parthenon would be a perfect, beautiful building. It is built upon the Acropolis hill above the city of Athens.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

This is one of the most beautiful yet curious structures today. Located in Pisa, the leaning tower took 199 years to be completed. It was designed by Bonnano Pisano and he wanted it to be straight. However, today it leans 3.99 degrees. It has a collection of 297 steps that lead from the bottom to the top.

St. Peter's Basilica

Located in Vatican City, Rome, this is one of the most impressive church buildings in the world. It took a total of 144 years to build. In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine commissioned its construction. Within its walls, you can find the murals painted in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo as well as 100 tombs under the basilica.

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Located in the Egyptian desert, this is the greatest pyramid in the country and one of the most impressive buildings in the world. Construction of this mammoth building began in 2,580 BC and ended in 2,560 BC. For 20 years, slave laborers and the most intelligent engineers of the time labored to build this pyramid for pharaoh Khufu. Not only is it one of the tallest structures in the world, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the two neighboring pyramids match a star formation right above them. The accuracy is within millimeters.


Located in Cuzco, Peru, this is a building constructed by the ancient Incan Empire. It took them a total of 63 years to complete it. Their architecture is marvelous. They did not use any mortar to join up the building blocks. Instead, they carved the blocks such that they interlocked very tight. Considering the technology of the time, Sacsayhuaman is an engineering marvel.

St. Basil's Cathedral

Moscow is the capital city of Russia. It is also the home of this colorful cathedral. Its construction began in the year 1555 and the cathedral took 123 years to complete. It was ordered to be built by Ivan the Terrible. Many know St. Basil's Cathedral for its colorful minarets all over the cathedral complex. It was designed by architects known as Barma and Postnik.

The Taj Mahal

Men do many things for the women they love. Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor decided to go above and beyond for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. He decided to build her a palace that celebrated her beauty. This palace was the Taj Mahal. Construction began in 1632 and the palace took 21 years to construct. 20,000 workers accomplished this labor of love for the Shah and his wife.

The York Minster Cathedral

Built in medieval times, this is the one of the biggest cathedrals of the era. It took 252 years to complete. Construction began in 1220 and ended in 1472. The cathedral proudly displays the largest stained glass in one structure. It is 520 feet long. There are three towers in the York Minster Cathedral. Each is 200 feet long. The cathedral displays the best of medieval architecture.

Chichen Itza

This is an ancient Mayan building complex. Located in South America, Chichen Itza took 400 years to construct. The first block was laid in AD 600 and the last one was laid in AD 1,000. The Mayans had a vibrant culture and impressive architecture. Chichen Itza indicates both of these qualities. The building complex has a tall pyramid in its center. This one was designed such that it amplified the sound of a speaker located in its middle. Moreover, during a vernal equinox, a shadow of a slithering serpent was cast upon the steps of the pyramid. Chichen Itza is a mysterious yet fascinating building.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Construction of this building began in 1675. Located in London, England, it is a majestic building showcasing classical architecture. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and it has a unique feature known as the whispering gallery. It is said that if you whisper on one side of the wall in this gallery, your words will be heard on the other side yet the wall is 112 feet thick. Curious don't you think?

Buckingham Palace

This is the home of the British royal family. Buckingham palace was originally called Buckingham House when construction began in 1702. 23 years later, it was completed. It was designed by John Nash. Sir Aston Webb designed the facade of the building in 1913. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace. Today it is the official home of Queen Elizabeth II.

Angkor Wat

This is one of the wonders of the world. The temple of Angkor Wat was constructed between AD 802 and AD 1220. Therefore, it took 400 years to be built. The temple is made up of many buildings constructed in one place and interconnected by paths and gardens. It also has a wall that is 2.2 miles in length which marks the border of an area that is 203 acres in size. For many years, the temple had been overgrown by jungle. Today, it has been carefully cleared for the world to admire the Khmer architecture that is to be found in this temple.


Found in the blistering heat of the Jordan desert, Petra is a citadel that is unique for one reason. It was not constructed with rocks, it was carved right into the rocks. The Nabataeans carved this citadel into the rock in 600 BC. The process ended after 850 years. Once it was complete, Petra could hold up to 20, 000 people inside. They did not have the tools required to carve out rock with accuracy and strength. Yet the citadel of Petra stands and exists today.

The White House

Located in Washington DC, U.S.A., this is the official seat of power and the residence of the US president. It was designed by James Hoban and construction began in 1792. 13 years later, it was completed. Despite the British destroying much of this impressive structure in the Burning of Washington, it was reconstructed to its former glory.

The Sagrada Familia

This is one of the most impressive churches in the world and still under construction. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a famous architect in 19th century Spain. Construction began in 1882 and is still going on according to Gaudi's plan. When he died in 1926, the Sagrada Familia was only quarterway done. It is expected to be completed in 2026.


Resting in the countryside of England is Stonehenge. Nobody really knows why this collection of rocks was built. However, it is an engineering puzzle. Construction of Stonehenge took over 1,600 years. Different generations of people who settled in the area cooperated to construct the structure. The remarkable thing is that these generations may not have had direct contact yet Stonehenge is built with accuracy and precision. Every rock in the complex is aligned expertly with solar and lunar elements. Moreover, the rocks weigh an average of 4 tons each. Why they built it, we may never know. However, we will always be amazed by the structure.

The Great Wall of China

This is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It is also one of the ones that took longest to build. This Great Wall took over 2,000 years to complete. It was started in 400 BC and completed in AD 1600. Many dynasties of Chinese people performed the construction. Once it was finished, the Great Wall of China covered 4,160 miles and hosted an armed guard of more than 1 million soldiers. It was a formidable defense against the Northern raiders and also showed Chinese Imperial might.

Mount Rushmore

This is quite an impressive sight to behold. It comprises the heads of four presidents of the United States of America. They are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Together, these faces on the side of the mountain represent the first 130 years of American history.. A marvelous sculpture, Mount Rushmore was built by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln. Sculpting began in 1927 and the structure took 14 years to be completed.

The Statue of Christ the Redeemer

With his outstretched arms over Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer is a mammoth statue located on the top of Corcovado mountain. It was carved by Heitor Da Silva alongside Paul Landowski. They began the labor in 1922 and completed it 9 years later. Christ the Redeemer weighs a total of 635 tonnes.

The Important Take Away

Buildings and structures of immense size normally take a long time to complete. The labor is always worth it. This is because these structures serve the purpose of shelter and are also ceremonial, political or even spiritual. They are symbols of the power of human creativity and engineering effort. Find some time to visit some of the ones in this list and prepare to be amazed.