Geometric Monuments

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The Washington Monument is a modern example of classic geometric architecture.
The Washington Monument is a modern example of classic geometric architecture. (Image: American Images Inc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Geometry has long inspired both art and architecture. These shapes tell stories about the intentions behind the creation, as well as provide clues as to the ideas and methods of their creators. This inspiration dates back thousands of years while remaining significant in our modern monuments. These monuments all hold a special place in the history of these cultures.

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument, which stands prominently in the center of Washington, D.C., was built in the shape of traditional Egyptian obelisks. The monument stands 555 feet and 5 inches tall. Inside, you can take the long staircase or the elevator to the top floor where you have a view of the entire city. The spot is the only place in the city where you can see the significance of the Washington, D.C., layout. A pyramid capstone tops the large obelisk, combining two classic geometric features with the squared obelisk and the pyramid top. The pyramid capstone was laid in 1884, marking its completion date. It stood as the tallest man-made monument until 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was completed.

Egyptian Pyramids

The pyramids of Egypt stand as a powerful reminder of an ancient world. The largest, known as the Great Pyramid, stands 146 meters tall and was built around 2560 B.C.E. The monument was originally crafted as a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu and was the tallest man-made monument for more than 3,800 years. The large pyramid structure is an outer façade built to house another large series of chambers within. Many such pyramids were designed throughout the Gaza strip, each housing the tomb of other powerful pharaohs. These pyramids held religious and mathematical significance within their culture. The care used in their crafting allowed them to remain mostly intact into the modern world.

The Great Pyramid of Egypt still stands today as mysterious and impressive as ever in it's history.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt still stands today as mysterious and impressive as ever in it's history. (Image: great pyramid of chefren image by Julia Chernikova from Fotolia.com)

South American Pyramids

The Step Pyramids of South and Central America possess a pyramid shape similar to the Egyptian pyramids. From a distance, the pyramid shape is obvious; however, upon closer inspection, the step qualities are visible. This includes long staircases that lead up the sides of these pyramids as well as the large layers that make up the sides of these pyramids. Each layer appears independent of the others. The illusion of the pyramid shapes is a result of the decreased size of each layer. Sharp angles are visible throughout the architecture and each layer is formed in large rectangular shapes.

Step pyramids contain a number of geometric designs including rectangles and distinct angles.
Step pyramids contain a number of geometric designs including rectangles and distinct angles. (Image: pyramid image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

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