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Top 3 masonry structures through history

The Great Wall is the longest man-made structure on earth.

When it comes to world famous monuments and structures, it's always the flashier stones that hog the limelight. Marble, limestone, slate, even sandstone – there's no shortage of globally renowned marvels made from these unique materials. 

But where's the love for good, old-fashioned, dependable brick? Brick is one of the oldest building materials in the world, and while it may not seem as attention-grabbing as these other surface types, there are still a number of impressive masonry structures through history.

1. The Pyramids

One of the earliest, if not the earliest, masonry structures that survive today are the Egyptian Pyramids in Cairo, built more than 4,000 years ago. The use of masonry evolved over the course of the different pyramids that were built, from simple mud bricks to sun-baked clay bricks. 

The pyramids served as tombs for pharaohs, queens and nobles, standing as monuments to the ability of man to build the most impressive structures with the most basic of technology. Though the idea that the pyramids were built by slaves has been a long-standing and deeply ingrained one, recent evidence indicates this wasn't true. 

2. The Great Wall of China

The longest man-made structure on earth, the Great Wall of China winds a whole 5,500 miles in north China across many municipalities and regions. Originally built using earth and wood in the third century BC, eventually the building material switched to brick, and rice flour was even used to bind the masonry together. The wall as we know it was completed as late as the 17th century AD.

The centuries have not been kind to all of the wall, with some parts, particularly in the northwest, starting to disappear thanks to human actions and natural processes. Some surface protection might have worked wonders to prevent weathering of the material, though there would have been no stopping the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 70s, when bricks were removed from the wall to be re-used as building materials.

3. Philadelphia City Hall

Skipping ahead a few centuries, we have the $25 million, 548-foot high Philadelphia City Hall in Pennsylvania. The tallest masonry structure in the world, one can only imagine how impressive this must have been to onlookers in 1901, when it was completed after 30 years of work. 

What makes Philadelphia City Hall stand out is the fact that it is pure masonry – there's no steel support underneath that keeps the massive building standing. This means the masonry is as thick as 22-24 feet in some parts, helping to bear the weight of its 700 rooms and seven principal floors, some with up to four acres of space. 

That these structures continue to survive is a testament to how well individuals we think of today as less advanced were able to construct them in the first place. Of course, you needn't take that chance with the brick and masonry of your own property. Try Dry-Treat's DRY-TREAT 40SK™, which will not only seal such material and protect it from harmful substances, but help consolidate it too.

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