The Costs of Replicating Ancient Architectural Wonders Today

In “Original Copies“, Bianca Bosker looks at a current trend in China to recreate some of human’s civilization greatest architectural achievements. Various elite suburbs in the country feature a variety of world wonders, from a 108-foot copy of the Eiffel Tower to picturesque Venetian scenescapes.

If this seems strange, consider resort properties in Las Vegas, Nevada, which includes Parisian cafes, a New York City skyline, and a modern version of the Egyptian pyramid. Or consider EPCOT in Walt Disney World where they are recreations of famous cultural architecture. World’s Fairs and Exhibitions often feature replicas of famous buildings, like the Parthenon look-alike that is still perched in Nashville today.

What this proves is that throughout history, human beings not only have built some of the greatest world wonders but also recreated them for new generations to enjoy close to home. So what if you wanted to build some impressive structures from the ancient world – how much would it cost with modern construction?

BigRentz performed a study looking at ancient wonders and their estimated construction costs using today’s technology and materials and discovered some very interesting things about how much it might be if you want to commision your own replica.

Stonehenge: $3.5M

Giant stones don’t present that much of an architectural challenge today. The cost is mostly associated with hauling them, which would be accomplished today using massive cranes and transport vehicles. A couple in Australia even crafted their own replica in around two years.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon: $31.5M

Love a garden? How about a lavish 50,000 square feet complex? Though no architectural evidence remains from the original Hanging Gardens, estimates can be gleaned from historical descriptions and modern recreations – a modern recreation could be similar to the magnificent Parkroyal on Pickering hotel in Singapore.

Parthenon: $35M

While Nashville’s replica of the temple is impressive, it was created using concrete, a much more economical material. To create a true-to-life recreation of the Parthenon, we would need 100,000 tons or so of marble, which will take up the majority of the costs. After that, you would also need to add Doric columns and commission sculptors to recreate the temple’s elaborate frieze work.

Angkor Wat: $42M

The famed Cambodian temple took 30 years to build in the 12th century using a system of sleds and elephants. These days it would take a lot less time with modern machinery. A proposed replica in India provided us with the base cost for estimating this marvelous structure.

Machu Picchu: $70M

If you have over 1 million square feet available, you could recreate rebuild this Incan citadel complex for about $70 million. Unlike the materials used in some of the other ancient structures, granite is relatively inexpensive with today’s costs.

Taj Mahal: $110.5M

The real kicker on building a replica of this ornate 17th-century mausoleum is the money spent on precious stones that adorn the whole structure. These stones would run $10M just by themselves. And that’s before considering the costs of marble, sculptures, and landscaping.

The Colosseum: $435.3M

A true marvel of public architecture, it is said that the 80,000 seat stadium could be evacuated in just 15 minutes. If the almost $440 million price tag seems steep, consider that the Cowboys stadium in Texas cost over twice as much at $1.15B. The cost could be based on the similar Colosseum structure in Las Vegas.

Great Pyramid of Giza: $1.2B

It’s been estimated that modern workers would require about $40M alone in labor costs to haul, transport, and place the over 2 million blocks estimated to compose the Great Pyramid. Limestone is also relatively expensive compared to other materials like concrete and granite. Rather than taking 30 years, modern technology could recreate this iconic structure for around 5 years.

Great Wall of China: $42B

The estimated price tag for a wall on the border between Mexico and the US is $70B. With this amount, we could build almost life-size replicas of the Great Wall of China based on the cost of a small-scale replica in Nanchang China.

While the real thing is always better than a copy, it’s nice to know that modern technology could create ancient marvels with a bit of engineering and a lot of money. For more details on the materials and costs of these ancient structures, check out the infographic below.

Please include attribution to BigRentz with this graphic.

Building Costs of Ancient Structures

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