The wonders of the world are combinations of magnificent feats of engineering, architecture and construction. In the ages they were built, the construction must have had many hard arduous challenges. How could have modern technology and methods helped in their building? In this article we will be looking at how to construct the wonders of the world using modern equipment.
Wonders of the World – The Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is positioned on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It is considered one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his wife, it took around 20 years to build. A building of such beauty naturally presented many challenges. The construction required 20,000 workers, including both artisans and labourers. The construction required a significant amount of materials, with the main structure built of brick, layered on the outside with white marble and inlaid with precious stones such as jade, crystal and amethyst.
Naturally, one of the biggest issues with construction was the manoeuvring and logistics involved with the vast amount of material required. The building needed 1000 elephants to transport the materials. Without getting into the subject of animal cruelty, this is clearly an inefficient way of transporting anything. This is due to the unpredictable nature of animals and things such as fatigue. As well as the use of modern trucks and rail to transport the material to the construction site, a modern day solutions is the use of forklifts. Using forklifts the materials could have been easily transported around the construction site from building to building.
Wonders of the World – The Great Wall of China
The exact origins of the Great Wall of China are unknown, but historians often quote the whole construction spanning between 700 – 200 BC. The purpose of the wall was to keep out foreign invaders, and naturally many different rulers oversaw its construction. The most famous part of the wall was built between 220–206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. He ordered over 300,000 soldiers to build the wall, with peasant farmers and prisoners also being forced to work on it.
Most of the wall was built using a mixture of stone blocks and bricks, as well as anything else on hand, such as soil. Over the years it has been estimated over 100,000,000 tonnes of brick, stone and mud was needed to construct it. Back then labourers had to carry these materials by hand, or with primitive technology such as wheelbarrows and ropes. One piece of modern technology which could have significantly aided its construction is a conveyor belt. Conveyor belts could have stretched over the vast distances the wall occupied, and would allow easy transport of materials from their production nearby to the construction sites. Using such technology could have significantly reduced construction time from the 500 years required.
Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was a 15th century Incan city located 2450m above sea level in the Andes, Columbia. it is one of the most mysterious wonders of the world. Naturally the area provides a strategic outpost which adds to the city’s protection. It also allowed the ancient Incas to oversee any enemies trying to approach them. The city was not a fortress however but of religious significance. The area used to be covered by forests and wildlife such as poisonous snakes, all cleared by the Incas. No material needed carrying up the 2450m climb. The entire 140 buildings used stone from a quarry on which the site lay.
Despite the technological disadvantage they faced, the Incas were quite innovative. The buildings were built, connected and finished dry, before holes were made in them and connected by freezing water in those holes. The density difference between the water and ice would cause the stone to stick together. However, one clear disadvantage the Incas faced was the apparent lack of any knowledge of the wheel. Therefore they had carry all the stone by hand. Clearly by using modern trucks and trolleys, the stone could have been transported around the buildings much more quickly. This would have also allowed construction to be completed much easier.