Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

25 of mankind's greatest engineering achievements

By Tamara Hinson, for CNN
December 22, 2013 -- Updated 1700 GMT (0100 HKT)
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
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0735 GMT (1535 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT