While travertine tiles and pavers are used quite often in modern building projects, this natural stone has been used in architectural designs for centuries, and many natural travertine deposits exist around the world, giving viewers gorgeous spectacles to marvel at. The fact that these structures remain largely intact today and still dazzle visitors with their gleaming stones is testament to travertine's durability and natural beauty. Whether you've already got travertine tile installed in your home or you're thinking of upgrading your yard with pavers, here are a few examples of marvelous travertine structures that prove travertine will enhance your property for years.
The project of building the Romans' Colosseum was started by Vespasian. It was inaugurated by Titus in 80 A.D. and finished by Domitian. It was the first permanent amphitheater to be built in Rome, and the size and grandeur of it make it one of the greatest architectural achievements of the ancient Romans. It's shaped like a large ellipses and has tiered seats for 50,000 spectators, and much of the structure was made from travertine, which the Romans called lapis Tiburtinus. While some features of this awe-inspiring building have faded with time, the travertine piers and arcades are largely intact, and it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Rome today.
Tonto Natural Bridge
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is located near Payson, Ariz., and is thought to be the largest natural travertine stone bridge in the world, which has been forming for thousands of years. The bridge looms 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point. It was discovered in 1877 by David Gowan, a prospector who came across it as he was chased by Apaches. Today, the park is a popular spot for hiking and picnicking. Equally impressive travertine stalactites and stalagmites can be found in some of Arizona's caves, too, like those in Kartchner Caverns State Park.
The Turkish city of Hierapolis has a long history, as was believed to be founded in the fourth century B.C. by Seleucid kings. The ancient city lies in the area of Pamukkale, which is surrounded by hot springs and gleaming white travertine. Pamukkale's tiered effect was created when water from the hot springs lost carbon dioxide as it flowed down the slopes, which left behind deposits of limestone. The layers of travertine built up in steps on the plateau and led people to refer to it as Pamukkale, which means "cotton castle." The buildings of Hierapolis were almost entirely made from travertine, and you can still visit the ruins of the city's well-preserved amphitheater and look at the flowing travertine terraces today.
Basilique du Sacre Coeur
The Sacre Coeur in Paris is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France, and was built of Château-Landon stone, which is a type of travertine that bleaches to a gleaming white over time. The church was finished in 1914, and features a Romano-Byzantine triple domed design, soaring ceilings and intricate mosaic details.
Willis Tower in Chicago, which used to be known as the Sears Tower, was the tallest building in the world when it was built in 1974. The lobby was built with high, polished travertine walls that visitors still admire today.
The Getty Center in Los Angeles was built with 1.2 million square feet of travertine imported from Italy. Architect Richard Meier used a mix of natural and polished stone to create a structure that complemented the natural environment and gave homage to historical building concepts, resulting in an impressively beautiful building that visitors still fawn over.