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
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0207 GMT (1007 HKT)
Where to pay homage to the cutest local celebrities you'll ever stalk.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
For air travelers who like to gripe about being cramped in economy, here comes another warning that they've never had it so good.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Cream cakes from the Ruszwurm bakery in Budapest, Hungary
Proving they're what's really important, the world's best pastry shops have survived survived sieges, revolutions and World War II.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Lois Pryce ignored naysayers and traveled 3,000 miles via motorcycle to discover the real Iran.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 0320 GMT (1120 HKT)
Built at a cost of $442.2 million, Universal Studios Japan hopes its new Potter attraction will bring in $55 billion over 10 years.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
A scene in Marrakech
The gateway to Morocco's Atlas Mountains is becoming a photographer's paradise -- but capturing it on camera isn't easy.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 2136 GMT (0536 HKT)
Cathay Pacific was pronounced the world's best airliner of the year at the industry's leading awards ceremony in Farnborough on Tuesday.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
Britain has stolen a march in the space race with plans for the world's first spaceport outside the U.S.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
In the hunt for the world's best amusement park, the people have spoken -- and it seems the people like mixing with creatures who eat a lot of fish.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0611 GMT (1411 HKT)
An Hellenic Seaplanes aircraft
Seaplane network set to open up far-flung destinations to affordable jet-setting tours.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
A man who took a dangerous selfie during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, with the half-ton beasts right behind him, is still on the run -- but this time from the police.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0207 GMT (1007 HKT)
Its cramped rooms and retro lobby are dated, but its charm and devotion to customers are worth preserving.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0553 GMT (1353 HKT)
A young girl sits on a bench decorated with an image of Paddington Bear.
As part of a scheme to encourage reading, 50 benches designed in the style of popular novels or kids' stories have been scattered around London.
July 12, 2014 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
To all the locals who have been hoarding the following beaches, please forgive us.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
Jason Hullinger, a computer security architect in Los Angeles, went to Joshua Tree National Park in December to catch the Geminid meteor shower.
CNN iReporters from across the globe share their incredible images of the skies above us.
ADVERTISEMENT