Asian Wonders of The Ancient World


Mausoleum of the First Qin Shi Huang Emperor at Mount Li

Approximately 8,000 terra cotta statues of armed warriors were located in this tomb. The weapons were all chromium protected which was a technique that was not reinvented until the 1930's. These statues were buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang when he died about 210 BCE. This may tell us much about the way they lived but the people who built them never received much if any benefit from their work. Qin Shi Huang went on a book burning binge so much of the story of how they were built was lost.

The Great Wall of China

Big Bell Temple Peking (Beijing) China

"The Great Bell Temple is located on the western outskirts of Beijing. The temple houses China's largest bell made in 1406 under the reign of emperor Yongle in the Ming dynasty. The bell is 7 meters (23ft) high, 3 meters (10ft) in diameter and 46.5 tons in weight. 17 Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on the entire surface of the Bell both inside and out, totaling 227,000 Chinese characters." source:

The Leshan Giant Buddha China

The Leshan Giant Buddha was built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. 71 meters (233 feet) tall,_China

The Bingling Temple China

These caves culminate at a large natural cavern where wooden walkways precariously wind up the rock face to hidden cliff-side caves and the giant Maitreya Buddha that stands more than 27 meters, or almost 100 feet, tall.

Tomb of Emperor Nintoku Japan

The mound is 486 meters long.
The diameter of circular rear mound is 249 meters.
The width of the triangular front mound is 305 meters.
The volume of the mound is almost 1.4 million cubic meters.
The estimated number of haniwa cylinders is 20,000.
the tomb covers estimate 32.3 hectares.

Source: "Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris Scarre 1999

Tomb of Ishibutai Japan

Ishibutai has a rectangular chamber measuring 25ft by 11ft by 15ft high approached by a passage 38ft in length, and roofed by two capstones each weighing between 60 and 70 tons each. (10) Modern estimates place the largest stone at approximately 75 tons. This estimate didn't come from the most reliable source however the sites below both show pictures of the stones in question and they do seem to be about right.

Masuda no Iwafune in Asuka Japan

This is a large stone structure approximately 11 meters in length, 8 meters in width, and 4.7 meters In height. The upper surface is flat, with a shallow trough and two square holes. Rough Estimate of volume 200 cubic meters weight 500-550 tons. These measurements might be a little high judging by the picture but not a lot. Even if it is only 400 tons it is enormous.

I'm not sure whether this was carved in place or whether it was relocated. It appears as if it may have been relocated it isn't in a rocky area. If this is true moving it would have been a monumental task since it is near the top of a hill.

Yonaguni Japan

The Yonaguni ceremonial structure was found of the coast of Yonaguni Japan in 1985. Since then it has been a major source of controversy. They clearly appear to be manmade to me i suspect you'll agree when you see the pictures. However if they are manmade it would almost certainly prove that many of the assumptions about the early development of civilization are wrong. Yonaguni has been submerged under water since the last iceage. If this was built by man it would have been built 8,000BCE or earlier. Some of the experts seem to be looking for a way to explain this without considering the possibility that there was a more advanced civilization earlier than previously believed.

Some people claim that these structures were carved out of rock on site which would mean that they wouldn't have had to move these rocks since it was made at a quarry.

The exception to this theory seems to be 2 Megaliths that appear to weigh at least 20 to 40 tons. Some experts have claimed that these 2 megaliths were precisely placed if so they would have been moved by ancient civilization at least 10,000 years ago. Another possibility is that the tides moved them. If this is true it is unlikely that they would have been placed in a precise location. Ocean tides certainly have moved colossal stones at times. The statues at Easter Island were once knocked over by a tidal wave and I have seen some multi-ton stones that were moved during storms by the tides myself.

The megalithic entrance tunnel leading to parallel megaliths may also include evidence of colossal stones moved. If you look closely you can see what looks like a joint on both sides of the entrance that appears to be to precise to be natural. they are both at the same height. If it was made by man I can't imagine how they got the stone on top in place. This is subject to confirmation though.

According to the Morien Institute there are more under water structures near by however they have yet to show pictures of these new sites. It appears as if major parts of history may have to be rewritten. However it will be necessary to confirm the details on this before the final verdict is in.
Yonaguni Megaliths
Megalithic entrance tunnel leading to parallel megaliths.

The Buddha at K├┤toku-in Kamakura Japan

Great Buddha at Todai-ji Japan

Horyu-ji Temple Japan

Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites Korea

Gochang Dolmen Site

"This group of dolmen are the largest and most varied. They are known as the Jungnim-ri dolmens and are centered in Maesan village. The dolmen were built from east to west at the foot of a series of hills at an altitude of fifteen to fifty meters. Generally, the capstones of the dolmens average around are one to 5.8 meters in length and can weigh ten to 300 tons. 442 dolmen have been documented and classified based on the size of the capstone. This group is believed to have been constructed around the seventh century BCE." source:

"The dolmen in Kanghwa (Ganghwa in new spelling) is a northern-type, table-shaped dolmen where ancestral rites were held. It is the biggest stone of this kind in South-Korea, measuring 2.6 x 7.1 x 5.5 meters." source:

A cube 2.6x7.1x5.5 would be 101.5 cubic meters. If it was granite one of the harder and heavier stones; it would be about 3 tons per cubic meter. This would mean it is about 300 tons. However the Dolmen is not a cube. If these are the maximum dimensions it would probably be about 200-225. cited as a source so this is actually only one source that made this mistake.,_Hwasun_and_Ganghwa_Dolmen_Sites

The Pillars of Ashoka

Originally, there must have been many of them, although only ten with inscriptions still survive. Averaging between forty and fifty feet in height, and weighing up to fifty tons each, all the pillars were quarried at Chunar, just south of Varanasi and dragged, sometimes hundreds of miles, to where they were erected.

Khajuraho Temples

The Khajuraho Temples were built in the tenth century CE. There were originally 85 temples only 22 survive but archeologists have found partial remains of much more. There are an enormous volume of quality carvings famous for sexual explicitly. The stones were put together with incredible precision. The columns and architraves are made out of colossal one piece stones that are probably over 10-30 tons.

According to a recent episode of lost worlds on the history channel their masonry expert Alex attempted to recreate one of the statues that was only 3 or 4 feet tall. It took him 60 days. He didn't specify how many hours. Someone who specialized only in carving and did it all the time almost certainly could do it faster if they had the skill but in order to build so many statues so fast they would have had to have an enormous amount of highly skilled sculptures spending an enormous amount of time doing nothing but carving.

Konark Sun Temple The Black Pagoda, India Konark Sun Temple

Bhuvaneswar India

The Great Stupa at Sanchi
The Great Stupa at Sanchi pictures

Bodh Gaya, India

The Taj Mahal India

Gwalior Fortress India

Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra and Ellora Caves India

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-daro

The baths cover an area of 200 hectares. there is probably as much stone if not more than the pyramid of Cheops however it was made out of much smaller blocks and built over a longer time. The citadel was 10 hectares and 12 meters tall. It had a volume of 1,152,000 cubic meters. the great Bath is 12x7 meters by 2.4 meters deep with a volume of 160 cubic meters. The lower town is 190 hectares 9 meters high with an estimated population of 40,000. Source: "Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris Scarre 1999

Mehrgarh and Harappa India

Vijayanagara India
Narasimha monolith

The Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram India

Statue of Jain Saint Gomateswara (Bahubali)at Karnataka India

"The town is 50 km from Hassan and 10 km from Chananrayanpatna. It has two hillocks, Indragiri and Chandragiri. The former one is also known as Vindhyagiri, and stands 143 meters high. About five hundred steps lead to the top of this picturesque hillock where 58.6 ft high Bahubali (Gomata) statue stands. It is a monolith carved around 980 A.D. and considered to be a landmark in the annals of world art. His broad shoulders are 26 feet across." source:

The estimate of the shoulders is probably a little high but several other sources have confirmed the height and the fact that it was built out of a single piece of stone. The shoulders are probably between 23 and 26 feet wide. The Base seems to be about 33 feet wide. After making some rough estimates of the dimensions I'm estimating it is about 200 cubic meters. This is made out of granite which weighs about 3 tons per cubic meter. That would be about 600 tons. This estimate has a large margin of error since it is based on rough guesses and incomplete dimensions. It is almost certainly between 300 and 700 tons. There are some reference to it being erected and it seems highly unlikely that it would have been standing up naturally on the top of a hill. There are also reference to the steps being carved out of the rock. It was made out of the granite from the hill but it may still have been necessary to shift it a little bit or erect it.

Sigiriya: Mount of Remembrance Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura Sri Lanka

Buddhist Monastery at Paharpur Bangladesh

Angkor Thom The Bayon and Angkor Wat

In 1858 Henri Mouhot sketched the ruins of Angkor on a trip to Cambodia sponsored by the Royal Geographic Society. His sketches led to the discovery of Angkor by a lot of Europeans who were previously unaware of the Temples.

In 1864 and 1873 Louis Delaporte took trips to Angkor on expeditions sponsored by the French. He also sketched his trips including himself in at least 1 picture. This included pictures of them transporting colossal statues over 10 feet tall back to France on the river. Some of the many statues taken from the Preah Khan Temple and other temples were lost in the river when the rafts capsized.

At the beginning of the ninth century Jayavarman II rose to prominence over other rival Khmer rulers and established a new Mandala (country). He initially built a series of square single celled towers with tall stepped roofs on Mount Kulen. He later established a new capital called Hariharalaya and built even more there. Jayavarman II was one of many leaders who rose to the status of a "God".

Jayavarman II was succeeded by his son Jayavarman III and then King Indravarman I who built the Preah Ko and Bakong temples. The Bakong used 100 times as much construction material as any previous temple. Angkor temples were often surrounded by moats Indravarman built a huge water system that benefitted from the fish stocks of the Tonle Sap.

The first King to establish a temple (Phnom Bakheng) on the site of Angkor was Yasovarman who succeeded Indravarman in 889 CE. This is the first of many temples at Angkor that also served as mausoleums. they were built over a period of about 400 years. The Bakheng was on a rectangular base that rose in 5 levels. The Bakheng included 109 towers 5 main ones in the center and 104 distributed symmetrically over the lower 4 levels. This was supposed to have astronomical symbolism representing the heavens including the 12 year cycle of Jupiter.

Angkor Wat

When king Suryavarman II the last king built his temple he wanted to build the most spectacular one of all but there wasn't enough room within the walls of the old city which later became Angkor Thom so he built Angkor Wat outside the walls. It had as much stone as the Temple of Khafre, over 5 million tons of stone. Angkor Thom and other surrounding temples which were built over a period of 400 years probably have at least 10 times that. Angkor Wat was built on an enormous foundation of mostly small sandstones, sand and laterite slab blocks. The laterite blocks are similar to mud bricks. they are made out of a local soil which hardens when exposed to the air.

Angkor Wat was built between 1113 and 1153 CE. Building such a large monument as Angkor Wat in such a short tome is almost as tough as building the pyramid of Cheops in only 23 years. Assuming they really were built that fast which is hard to believe. That involves moving and carving and installing 370 tons of stone every day each step of the way. Virtually all of this stone including columns lintels even roofs were carved. the source shows some picture of columns that were not carved so this claim might be slightly exagerated but not much. Some have claimed that Suryavarman sacrificed quality for quantity but from what I've seen of the pictures it may not have been that much of a sacrifice since they still seem to be good quality. It also involves moving an even larger volume of fill for the foundation including small sandstones, sand and laterite slab blocks. As far as I know Angkor didn't have as many colossal stones as Giza but there were still an enormous amount of multi-ton stones including many that almost certainly weighed over 10 tons. This was built by a system of virtual slave labor. The temple wasn't completed until after Suryavarman died.

Angkor Thom

His massive building projects and conquests took its toll on the kingdom which fell into decline. In 1177 the Chams invaded. Eventually Jayaverman VII rallied the Khmers and defeated the Chams. Jayaverman VII reestablished the old city as Angkor Thom with a new temple in the center. His temple was the Bayon sitting on a stone terrace included 50 towers famous for their statues of Buddas face 1 on each side of each tower. The Mandela lasted another 150 years before going into decline. Angkor Thom is a is a small city almost 4 square miles full of large temples. Most if not all the temples have a stunning amount of statues and wall carvings. Some of these wall carvings included depictions of battles against the Chams. The joints between the stones were extremely tight fits. The sandstones for all the Angkor Temples had to be transported 25 miles from the nearest quarry by boat.

Temples of Bagan Burma

Po Klaung Garai Temple and My Son Temple complex Viet Nam

At the My Son complex, there was one temple constructed of stone, the foremost stone temple in Champa civilization was the centerpiece of the complex. In 1900 French architect, artist and archeologist Henri Parmentier went to Vietnam to study Cham architecture. While there he sketched the lavishly ornamented tower of Mi Son. The [[stele]] inscription reveals that the last stone alterations to this temple were made in [[1234]]. Today, this temple is no longer standing, although it once stood at over 21m, the tallest building in the complex. Evidence gathered from the surrounding area show that it was once part of the original temple in the 4th century. In 1969 the Vietcong used this tower as a hideout and mounted a radio transmitter on the summit. After US air raids failed to knock out the tower a commando team crept in and planted explosives. The blast reduced the tower to a pile of rubble. source: Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Southeast Asia: A Past Regained (1995)

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Burma 
In 1608 the Portuguese plundered a 20 ton bell from the Burmese and attempted to bring it back to Portugal. they dropped it in the river and it was lost. This bell was later replaced with a 23 ton bell.
On or about 1825 the British attempted to plunder the 23 ton bell from the Burmese. They dropped it in the river. they were unable to retrieve it. The natives managed to raise it back up and retrieve it by attaching a large volume of bamboo. They brought it back to the Pagoda with technology that was more primitive than what was available to the British.

I'm not sure how they calculated the weight of the first bell perhaps they weighed the remaining one and estimated the first based on the dimensions.

Borobudur Mahayana Buddhist monument

The width is 120 meters by 120 meters deep overall height is 32 meters. There are 1. 6 million carved stones, 504 Buddha statues, 72 perforated stupas and 1,500 miniature stupas. there are 2. kilometers of bas-reliefs including 1240 bas-reliefs in all. source: "The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Chris scarre 1999 (Thames and Hudson) It is estimated that Borobudur took 70 years to build. It was built on a natural hill which is now eroding. UNESCO has undergone a major restoration project to preserve Borobudur. source: Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Ancient India: Land Of Mystery (1994)

Pyramid of Rapa Iti Island And monuments from other south Pacific Islands 
The island of Tongatapu in the Tonga Islands has the only megalithic arch in the South Pacific – the trilithon of Ha’amonga. Each of the upright coral pillars is 4.9 m high and weighs about 50 tons. The lintel, which is set into grooves in the upright stones, is 5.8 m long and weighs about 9 tons.

The island of Tinian has two of the largest standing megaliths. The pillars are 5.5 m in circumference at the base and 4.5 m at the top. They are 3.7 m high and support capitals 1.5 m high and 1.8 m in diameter. Each coral monolith weighs about 30 tons.

Monumental stone statue from Raivaevae appears to be over 10 feet tall

107 Wonders of the Ancient World (Blog entry)

One Hundred and Seven Wonders of The Ancient World: Introduction

Middle East Wonders of The Ancient World

African Wonders of The Ancient World

European Wonders of The Ancient World

South American Wonders of The Ancient World

North American Wonders of The Ancient World

Asian Wonders of The Ancient World

Preliminary Conclusions For One Hundred and Seven Wonders of The Ancient World

Prophets and Mystics

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