History Quiz: Buildings

Guess the answers to these questions about buildings built throughout history.
Quiz by MaxStickies
Last updated: September 8, 2021
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First submittedFebruary 25, 2020
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1. Which library was said to contain, at most, around 200,000 scrolls?
Imperial Library of Constantinople
Library of Alexandria
Library of Pergamum
While 200,000 scrolls is a lot, the Library of Alexandria was said to contain 500,000, though historians believe this number to be a bit unrealistic. The Imperial Library of Constantinople was said to contain 120,000.
2. Which type of building/structure is the oldest?
Hindu Temple
The first longhouses (that we known of) were built in Neolithic Europe around 5000-6000 BC. For comparison, the oldest confirmed pyramid is the Pyramid of Djoser, completed in c.2648 BC, though the pyramids of the Peruvian city of Caral are of a similar age. Hindu temples go back to maybe as early as the 7th Century BC, though the oldest surviving ones are much younger.
3. Which building, destroyed in WWII, was not later rebuilt?
Sándor Palace (Budapest)
Frauenkirche (Dresden)
Auberge d'Auvergne (Valletta)
The Courts of Justice building was later built on the site. The restoration of Sándor Palace occurred gradually, starting in 1989 and ending in the 2000s. The Frauenkirche was rebuilt between 1994 and 2005.
4. Philadelphia City Hall was designed in which architectural style?
Second Empire
The style blended elements of many different historical styles and made innovative use of modern materials. It is also called the Napoleon III style, since it flourished under his reign.
5. The towers of Angkor Wat are supposed to represent what?
Dragon spines
Mountain peaks
Holy hills
They are meant to represent the five peaks of the mythical Mount Meru, considered to be the centre of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
6. Which one of these symbols, all used on buildings (among other uses), was the most widespread before modern times?
Celtic knot
The triskelion and celtic knot were pretty much limited to Europe before the modern age, but the swastika was used around the world, including in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It was used on the facades of Hindu temples as well as Viking longhouses, for instance.
7. Which Chinese dynasty was the last to work on the Great Wall?
The wall as it is today was built mostly during this dynasty.
8. Which civilisation didn't build ziggurats?
Sumer was a Mesopotamian civilisation and Elam was Iranian, so they existed close to one another, but Urartu existed in present day western Turkey and Armenia.
9. Which of these is the largest pyramid in the Americas?
Temple of Kukulcan
Temple of the Great Jaguar
It is also known as the Great Pyramid of Cholula and stands at 55 metres tall, with a base that is 450 by 450 metres. Today, it is covered in earth (it looks like a hill) and has a church situated on top of it. El Castillo, the more popular name for the Temple of Kukulcan, measures 30 metres tall and 55.3 metres across. The Temple of the Great Jaguar, also known as Tikal Temple I, stands at 47 metres tall with a relatively small base.
10. Which cathedral was completed last (not including restorations)?
Florence Cathedral was completed first, in 1436. Seville Cathedral was next, in 1528. And while construction began in 1248, Cologne Cathedral was not completed until 1880. Restoration work began in the 1950s and is ongoing.
11. Why do traditional Chinese buildings have multiple dougong?
To ward off evil spirits
To maim or kill attackers
To withstand earthquakes
Dougong are interlocking wooden brackets, placed on columns to provide a solid base for bow-shaped brackets called gong, which then support a beam or another gong. Using multiple dougong allows a building to be elastic, so making it more earthquake-resistant. Dougong were no longer used after the Song Dynasty, though decorative brackets were still used.
12. Which of these is the world's largest castle (by land area)?
It was built and originally owned by the Teutonic Knights, and is the largest castle in the world (though not the largest palace). Windsor castle is the next largest out of the three.
13. Which of these was the world's tallest building in 1928?
Chrysler Building
Woolworth Building
Empire State Building
It was the world's tallest building from 1913 to 1930, at 241 metres. 40 Wall Street was tallest from April to 27th May 1930 (283 metres), followed by the Chrysler Building until 1st May 1931 (318.9 metres), then the Empire State Building until 1970 at 443.2 metres.
14. What was the probable purpose of the Inca site of Moray?
The site consists of several terraced circular depressions and an irrigation system. The latter feature, combined with the fact that there's a temperature difference of up to 15 °C between the top and bottom, suggests that the purpose of the site was farming, with the temperature difference and differing soil samples on each level allowing different crops to be grown.
15. What was the original purpose of the architectural ornament known as a mascaron?
List all those who contributed money or materials to the building
Frighten away evil spirits
Top a chimney
They were carved faces, usually human and typically frightening.
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