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
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 0049 GMT (0849 HKT)
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0523 GMT (1323 HKT)
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 0725 GMT (1525 HKT)
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 0651 GMT (1451 HKT)
A colossal empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires -- Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Move to squeeze in extra passengers brings dose of economic reality to dreams of luxuriously pimped aircraft.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 0803 GMT (1603 HKT)
British sound engineer wants you to ditch the camera and open your ears to "sound tourism."
March 30, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
Think bouncing on the end of an elastic rope is tough? Try jumping off a wooden tower with only a vine tied to your ankle.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Decimated by poaching, black rhino numbers are starting to increase again, thanks, in part, to on-foot tracking tours for tourists.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Singapore Changi Airport has been crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row at the World Airport Awards.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 2202 GMT (0602 HKT)
What do you get when you combine 60,000 photos, eight-hour cliff treks and months of patient processing? One of the year's great time-lapse videos.
ADVERTISEMENT