Top 10 stone-carved sites on the planet

Mount Rushmore (Image: oddharmonic used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Mount Rushmore (Image: oddharmonic used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)


This list comes from which publishes a regular collection of Top 10 lists. This group of amazing stone carvings is a bit out of the ordinary and sheds light on a different group of sights that can provide a reason to visit out-of-the-way places.

Here is their Top 10.

Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, South Dakota, United States

One of the most visited stone-carved sites in the United States, this relatively modern sculpture took more than 14 years to create and tens of thousands of pounds of dynamite. Sculpted by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum, the figures of former U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln cover the granite façade of Mount Rushmore.

Easter Island (Image: Nicolas de Camaret)

Easter Island (Image: Nicolas de Camaret)

Moai, Easter Island, Polynesia

These monolithic statues, carved by the Rapa Nai, still have historians and scientists baffled as to how exactly they were transported all over the island. The nearly 900 statues weigh, on average, 14 tons and stand about 13 feet tall.

The Great Sphinx (Image: trvlto used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

The Great Sphinx (Image: trvlto used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Giza, Egypt

The oldest and largest monolith statue in the world, the Great Sphinx has become synonymous with the ancient Egyptian architecture of Giza. Towering at 67 feet tall and 240 feet long, the half-lion, half-human figure dates back to somewhere between 2558 and 2532 B.C.

Mount Nemrut (Image: Klearchose Kapoutsis)

Mount Nemrut (Image: Klearchose Kapoutsis)

Statue Heads, Mount Nemrut, Turkey

The statue heads at Mount Nemrut might not seem like anything out of the ordinary to the regular stone-statue enthusiast. However, slightly up the mountain from where these heads stand, the bodies belonging to them are still seated stoically. A casualty of iconoclasm, the heads of the statues appear to have been deliberately damaged and were never restored to their original bodies.

Giant Buddha (Image: B_cool)

Giant Buddha (Image: B_cool)

Leshan Giant Buddha, Leshan, Sichuan, China

Carved during the Tang dynasty (618-907 A.D.), the Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest Buddha statue in the world, towering at 233 feet tall. It is believed that a Chinese Monk, Haitong, spearheaded the project hoping the Buddha would calm the water for boats traveling down river.

Dazu Rock Carvings, Chongqing, Dazu, China

More than 10,000 religious carvings, dating as far back as the ninth century, are cut into the cliff sides of Dazu. Depicting Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and ordinary life, the carvings symbolize the harmonious relationship between these three religions.

Ancient City of Petra, Ma’an, Jordan

The cultural gem of Petra is Jordan’s most prized place for visitors, attracting tourists from all over the world looking to immerse themselves in an ancient stone-carved city. An important passage point in ancient times between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra is believed to have been established around 300 B.C.

Lycian Tombs, near Dalyan, Anatolia, Turkey

The façade of these impressive structures, carved from the sheer cliffs above River Dalyan, date back to 400 B.C. These six tombs are famous for the intricate carving detail on their exterior, which contrasts their spare interiors.

Persepolis, Fars Province, Iran

The magnificent ancient capital of Persepolis was founded by Darium I in 518 B.C. and later burned in 300 B.C. by Alexander the Great. This archaeological wonder has since been restored and much of it recreated after it was excavated in the 1930s.

Angkor Wat, Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Known as the largest religious monument in the world, the Buddhist temple of Angkor is one of southeast Asia’s most significant archeological wonders and continues to be a place for excavation today. An example of classic Khmer architecture, Angkor Wat was built at the beginning of the 12th century, originally as a Hindu temple of worship for the god Vishnu.

  • Naoyuki

    I’m surprised that Stone Mountain was not included in this list.