Have you heard the parable of the builders laying bricks?
Someone walking past a building site stops to ask what the builders are doing and gets three different responses.
The first replies: “I’m laying bricks.”
The second says: “I’m building a wall.”
The third declares: “I’m building a cathedral!”
The story teaches us to be proud of the work that we do, and look at the bigger and often extraordinary picture beyond our day-to-day duties. (And if you can’t take any pride in what you’re doing it might be time to look for a new job!)
The fourth builder said…
As much as I like the moral of the story I’m glad it ends there. Just imagine if the passer-by had been walking through Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) and came across the building site of the Hagia Sophia – that was built by 10,000 workers over five years.
If you think the Hagia Sophia sounds like a lot of work consider the Taj Mahal, which not only needed 20,000 workers toiling for 21 years, but around 1,000 elephants to transport the necessary materials.
These are just two building projects that couldn’t have been possible without huge numbers of workers, but there are examples all around us that we take for granted every day.
We’ve picked 12 of the most impressive building projects from throughout history and across the world (and beyond) to highlight how many people are involved in building things that teach us about the universe, make life more convenient, or simply bring beauty to the world.
If you’ve ever wondered how many people it takes to build an Eiffel Tower, check out our infographic below.