Monuments and Memorials


Monuments are objects or buildings that have been created to honor an important person or a historic event that happened.

People have built monuments for thousands of years. In many cases they are symbols of ancient civilizations, like the pyramids of ancient Egypt or the Greek Parthenon.  These monuments were so large that it took thousands of people to build them. During the past two hundred years monuments have become famous landmarks of cities. The Statue of Liberty in New York welcomed immigrants who came to the New World from Europe. The Eiffel Tower in Paris was built at the entrance of the 1889 World Fair.

Planned cities have often been built around man-made structures. The Washington Monument was built before the planning and construction of the city started. Brazil’s new capital Brasilia was built around monumental structures.

Over history big structures have been built for many other purposes.  The Great Wall of China is the largest man-made object on Earth. It was built to keep invaders out of China. Political monuments have been built throughout history to show the power of a country or its society. Statues of the Soviet Union’s founder, Lenin, are found all over Moscow and other Russian cities. East Germany built the Berlin Wall to keep its citizens from fleeing to the West.

Columns have been used in history to build temples or hold the weight of ceilings.  Some stand alone and have a statue of a famous person at the top, like Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square in London. Many cities have arches, spanned over streets, which show success in wars and conflicts. Among the most famous is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Obelisks are four-sided pyramids that are very narrow and tall.

Memorials are built to honor dead people, often soldiers that have been killed in a war, like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  One of the most famous memorials is Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota. It is a sculpture of the faces of famous presidents, carved into a mountain.

One of the most recently built structures is the World Trade Centre Memorial at Ground Zero , which commemorates thousands of people who were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


The Parthenon - A Symbol of Ancient Greece

The Parthenon - A Symbol of Ancient Greece - Steven Swayne


Related Topics



  • ancient = very old
  • arch = a structure with a curved top and straight sides
  • capital = important city where the government of a country is
  • carve = cut
  • ceiling = the top part of a room
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country or city and has rights there
  • column = tall round stone used to keep up a ceiling
  • commemorate = in honor of, to respect
  • construction = building
  • create = build, make
  • entrance = door, opening, the way in
  • flee = escape
  • founder = a person who started something
  • honor = admire, respect
  • immigrant = a person who leaves their country and goes somewhere else to live and work
  • invade = to move into a country with an army
  • landmark = something that is easy to recognize, like a building or a mountain
  • purpose =  reason
  • recently = a short time ago
  • sculpture = object made by an artist out of wood, stone  or other material
  • society = the public, all the people
  • throughout = in all of
  • world fair = a very large show that shows buildings and the culture from different parts of the world.