Architectural Wonders of the 6th to the 10th Centuries

              We have arrived at the three-digit dates. These structures are really old, easily over a thousand years old. Some are in ruins, as one might expect, but others are remarkably well-preserved. All are certainly worth visiting. This period features the rise of the Byzantine Empire, the flowering and then fading of the Mayan Empire in the Americas.

              1. La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain (600) — This mosque-turned-church-turned-museum is delightful to explore with its candy-striped and other arches.                               

La Mezquita

              2. Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel (691) — The shiny golden roof of this icon sits atop the Temple Mount, one of the holiest places in the holy city.                                   

Dome of the Rock

              3. Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar (700) — This is the holiest shrine for Burmese people. It dominates the skyline of Yangon.

              4. Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an, China (707) — This is one of the oldest structures in the ancient city of Xi’an, famous for the Terra Cotta Warriors. The pagoda was built during the Tang Dynasty.                       

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

              5. Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England (750) — This remarkable church has figured prominently in English history because of the importance of its bishop. It became infamous when King Henry VIII split with Rome to establish the Church of England.                            

Canterbury Cathedral

              6. Mont-St-Michel Abbey, Mont-St-Michel, France (750) — Here is one of the world’s most dramatic locations, a village and church built into the rock of an offshore island, connected to the mainland only by a causeway.                        


               7. El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Quintana Roo, Mexico (~750) — The ancient Mayan ceremonial city of Chichen Itza is one of the New World’s greatest Native American sites.                    

El Castillo, Chichen Itza

              8. Borobudur, Malaysia (800) — This impressive temple complex is both a shrine to Buddha and a pilgrimage site. There are 504 Buddha statues which adorn the complex.

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