Good to see BBC travel running Pakistan's Derawar Fort as one of the seven unknown architectural wonders of the world !
Derawar Fort in Bahawalpur, Pakistan (Sami's Photography/Getty). Source: BBC Travel Website
Seven unknown architectural wonders
Palace of the Parliament, Romania
The world’s largest, most expensive and heaviest civilian administrative building, Bucharest’s Palace of the Parliament is truly an unknown wonder. “Built by hated communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu… the building is so huge that it is difficult to take a photograph that does its scale justice,” said Quora user Jann Hoke, a lawyer who worked in the palace in the mid-1990s.
|The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, Romania has some 3,100 rooms covering 330,000sqm. (Thinkstock|
Great Mosque of Djenne, Mali
Built in 1907, the Great Mosque of Djenne is the largest mud structure in the world, constructed almost entirely of sun-baked earthen bricks, sand and a mud-based mortar and plaster. It is considered one of the greatest achievements of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style and was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1988.
- The Great Mosque of Djenne, in the Niger Delta region in central Mali. (Francois Xavier Marit/Getty)
The mosque’s three minarets are decorated with bundles of rodier palm, which double as scaffolding for the annual repairs – a tradition that’s become a local festival in April and May.
“The brutal North African summers bring out cracks in the mud and weaken it over time,” said Quora user Abishek Lamba. “Before the yearly rains that follow, the locals get together and re-coat the entire building with clay from a dried up pond.”
Derawar Fort, Pakistan
A fortress of monumental proportions, Derawar’s 40 stunning bastions rise from the desert in a striking square formation. Combined, the fort’s walls form a circumference of some 1,500m and stand some 30m high.
- To visit the Derawar Fort, visitors must hire a guide with a four-wheel drive vehicle and make the daylong trip through the Cholistan Desert. (Nadeem Khawar/Getty)
“This is a magnificent structure in the middle of the Cholistan Desert,” said Quora user Faisal Khan. “Many people don't know about the Derawar Fort. Even most Pakistanis don't know of it.”
And for good reason: to get to the fortress, visitors must hire a guide with a four-wheel drive vehicle to make the day-long trip from the city of Bahawalpur, Pakistan through the Cholistan Desert to the fort, where special permission from the amir, or local leader, is needed to go inside.
Chand Baori, India
One of the most overlooked landmarks in India, Rajasthan’s Chand Baori is a spectacular square stepwell, 13 storeys deep, with walls lined with scores of double staircases that descend some 30m to the bottom of the well, where a pool of emerald green water awaits.
- The symmetrical steps of Rajasthan’s Chand Baori stepwell make a mesmerizing maze. (Thinkstock)
Stari Most, Bosnia-Herzegovina
If every great architectural landmark has a story, Bosnia-Herzegovina ‘s Stari Most has a comeback story.“The Old Bridge, or Stari Most as it's called by locals, was built of 456 blocks of local stone in 1566 by the Ottoman Turkish architect, Mimar Hajrudin,” said Quora user Haris Custo. “It was the heart of our city for 427 years.”
- A diver tests his bravery by diving off Bosnia’s Stari Most into the icy waters of the Neretva River below. (Getty)
But in the 1990s, the bridge was destroyed by Bosnian Serb and Croat forces during the Bosnian war. After the war, the city – and the bridge – began rebuilding. “It took almost 10 years to make that idea come to life, and in July of 2004 a new ‘old bridge’ was open again,” Custo said.
While the bridge has changed since its reconstruction, one long-time tradition remains: locals still dive off the bridge into the icy waters of the Neretva to show off their bravery and skill.
Great Wall of India
“We have all heard of the Great Wall of China, but few know that India also has its own Great Wall, which has been long overshadowed by its neighbour to the East,” said Quora user Ayush Manu.
The Great Wall of India, also referred to as Kumbhalgarh, is the second-longest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. Located in Rajasthan, the wall is 4.5m thick in some areas, extends for 36km and has seven fortified gates.
- The Great Wall of India, or Kumbhalgarh, remains an unknown treasure to most of the world. (Thinkstock/Franck Camhi)
Rana Kumbha, a local ruler, commissioned the wall in 1443 to protect his fort, situated on a hill above. “Legend has it that despite several attempts, the wall could not be completed,” Manu said. “Finally the king consulted one of his spiritual advisers and was advised that a sacrifice be made, and a volunteer offered his life so that others will be protected. Today, the main gate stands where his body fell and a temple where his severed head came to rest.”
The wall was enlarged in the 19th Century and now protects more than 360 temples located within its walls, but it remains an unknown treasure to most of the world.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Iran
Quora user Mona Khatam described the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – an architectural masterpiece of Safavid Iranian architecture – as “a study in harmonious understatement”. Located in Naghsh-i Jahan Square in the city of Isfahan, the stunningly elegant mosque was built between 1603 and 1619 during the reign of Shah Abbas I. It is named after the ruler’s father-in-law, Sheikh Lotfollah, a revered Lebanese scholar of Islam.
- Iran's Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is “a study in harmonious understatement”, said Quora user Mona Khatam. (Thinkstock)
“The dome makes extensive use of delicate tiles that change colour throughout the day, from cream to pink,” said Khatam. “Inside the sanctuary you can marvel at the complexity of the mosaics that adorn the walls and the extraordinarily beautiful ceiling, with its shrinking, yellow motifs. The shafts of sunlight that filter in through the few high, latticed windows produce a constantly changing interplay of light and shadow.”