9 of the Greatest Structures Ever Blown Up or Smashed to Pieces

These monuments are getting in the way of our war stuff
9 of the Greatest Structures Ever Blown Up or Smashed to Pieces

There are times when a civilization, in service of the population, the gods or some combination of the two, undertakes the construction of a monument meant to stand the test of time. Something that unlimited generations will look to as an example of the human spirit and the triumph of civilization. They can step back, dust off their hands (or instruct their slaves to) and breathe a contented sigh, knowing theyve made their mark on history. Now, they just have to hope that theres never a war near there. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Here are nine incredible structures that got blown up, smashed or something even worse…

The Bamiyan Buddhas

Public Domain

In the vein of the still-standing Sphinx, the Bamiyan Buddhas were massive works that were achievements in art as much as they were construction. They were created in the 6th century to mark a holy Buddhist site along the Silk Road. In 2001, the Afghani landmarks were destroyed by the Taliban as part of an effort to rid the area of pre-Islamic monuments. I have to say, I cant think of anything that will give you worse karma than blowing up a giant Buddha.

The Porcelain Tower

Public Domain

You would think that the idea of a “porcelain tower” was just a poetic turn of phrase. Shockingly, the name was literal, as the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was a roughly 260-foot tall tower whose sides were built with bricks of actual white porcelain. It must have been an unimaginably beautiful sight, one that remains unimaginable thanks to the destruction of the tower in 1856 during the Taiping Rebellion. It wasnt even an unfortunate accident: It was simply viewed as a very dangerous bit of high ground. A tragedy, though Murphy's Law wouldnt ever give good odds to a tower made of porcelain.

Kashi Vishwanath Mandir


The Kashi Vishwanath Mandir was a temple devoted to worship of the lord Shiva in Ayodha, India. Unfortunately, in the early 1500s, it was under the purview of the emperor Aurangzeb, and theres two things you should know about Aurangzeb. First of all, he took the throne by imprisoning his father and murdering his older brother, so he wasnt a particularly chill guy. The second is that he was very serious about Islam, a religion in which Shiva is notably not a part of. The temple was destroyed by Aurangzeb, who didnt want people worshipping what he considered the wrong god right in front of him.



The temple site of Hwangnyongsa in Korea included a massive, nine-story pagoda. It was constructed in the year 553 A.D. and remained the largest temple in Korea for many centuries. Unfortunately, in 1238, the Mongols arrived. Things went as they usually did when that happens, and the temple was burned to the ground.

The Library of Leuven


As we get into more modern times, even in active war, theres some emphasis placed on maintaining historic sites — and especially information. If you dont want to be the bad guys, I would recommend you avoid destroying libraries. Something that was written into the Hague Convention of 1907, saying, “All necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science or charitable purposes.” Something the Germans signed, and then completely ignored less than 10 years later in World War I as they burned down the library of the University of Leuven in what is now Belgium.

Vijecnica of Sarajevo

Public Domain

The Vijecnica in Sarajevo didnt only serve as city hall, but also as the national library. The kind of place thatll really spark some outrage if destroyed, something that the Bosnian Serbs truly did not give a fuck about while in the process of one of the most horrific sieges in modern history. They targeted the building directly in August 1992, and the building, unsurprisingly, suffered heavy damage from their artillery. A disgusting little cherry on top was added when they then shot at the firefighters who came to try to save the building. Great way to get yourself a one-way ticket to the Hague.

Hirschholm Palace

Public Domain

The Hirschholm Palace was the palatial summer retreat of Danish monarchy. What makes it unique among the buildings of history is that its a structure that was destroyed because of how embarrassing it became. It was the site of a nationally humiliating affair between a doctor and the Queen of Denmark, and once the doctor in question was beheaded, and things set back to the preference of the ruling class, they let the palace fall into ruin as to not ever have to think about that little whoopsie again.

The Parthenon

Jim Killock

The Parthenon met its fate through a combination of enemy aggression and sheer military stupidity. During the Great Turkish War, the Turkish Army occupied Athens, including the Parthenon. They apparently saw it as the perfect place to store all their gunpowder, which is kind of like letting your cat live in the bottom of your china cabinet. In a move so obvious it feels pulled from a Call of Duty tutorial, Venetian Captain-General Francesco Morosini fired a single shot directly into the Turks carefully arranged pile of explosive material, and it, along with much of the Parthenon, exploded.

Almost 2,000 Japanese Castles

Public Domain

During the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the Tokugawa warrior clan was overthrown in a bid to make Japan once again a country ruled by an emperor. The leaders, in this same vein, wanted the evidence of the daimyo, other warrior clans, to be minimized. In pursuit of this goal, daimyo were forced to give up their castles to the government, who destroyed a huge number of them, except for ones they deemed useful for their military. Today, only 12 castles predating the Meiji Restoration still exist.

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