Artwork and certain architecture help in portraying the cultural identity of people in a certain region. As such, there are several artworks and architectures distributed across the globe that helps show the cultural identity of people. The Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal in France and India respectively are some of the most unique architectures in the contemporary world.
The Eiffel Tower was built for several reasons with the major reason being for the World Exhibition, which commemorated the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution in Europe. The French revolution is one of the most important chapters in French history. It attempted to eliminate the dictatorship and divine rights of kings in France and create a more democratic system of government. Several French officials and citizens wanted to create a monument that would help in commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the revolution and help in improving the perception of Paris and France. This ultimately led to the construction of the Eiffel tower whose construction started on January 28, 1887. The construction was finished on March 15, 1889 in time for the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution. The majestic structure is 324 m high. After its construction, it became the tallest man-made structure in the world. However, it has since been surpassed by other man-made structures (Leach, 2005).
The Eiffel Tower is a symbolic sign of Paris and France in general. This is despite the fact that there are several other monuments in Paris. The tower acts as an identity of a regime of truth. It highlights the willingness of the French to adhere to the ideals of a democratic government. Since the Eiffel Tower acts as an unending sign for Paris, it is impossible for it to represent anything else. Therefore, it is not easy to recontextualize it. Whether the tower is in France, Florida, Nevada, or as a miniaturized tower on someone’s desk, it always signified Paris and France. As such, it reflects the cultural heritage of the French (Leach, 2005).
Despite the fact that the Eiffel Tower is also used in television and radio broadcasting, it still plays a major role in the cultural identity of the French. It attracts more tourists annually than any other paid attraction across the globe.
The Taj Mahal is also one of the most iconic architectural works in the contemporary world. It is a white marble mausoleum that is located on the southern bank of River Yamuna in the city of Agra, India. It was built between 1632 and 1653. Its architecture combines Persian, Islamic and Indian influences. It was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who ruled between 1628 and 1658 to act as a tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. As such the monument is a symbol of love (Leach, 2005).
The Taj Mahal shows the achievements of the Mughal Empire. It shows the great power that the powerful empire wielded over their subjects. It also reflects the multiculturalism in India. As detailed above, the architectural design of the monument was influenced by several cultures, which include Indian, Persian, and Islamic cultures. Therefore, the monument highlights the multicultural identity of Indians. It acts as a unifying factor among the different cultures. Therefore, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of civic pride among Indians. It highlights the importance of the coexistence of Indians who have different cultural backgrounds. The ancient Mughal Empire helped in bringing together people from different cultural backgrounds. The Taj Mahal is a UNESCO World Heritage site that continues to attract millions of visitors annually (Leach, 2005).
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