Chavin de Huantar, Peru: Chavin Temple Complex
This massive complex was erected over the span of a few centuries by the pre-Columbian Chavin people, who dwelled in the highlands of what is now Peru from about 900 to 200 B.C. The monuments include both an “old temple” and “new temple,” made of rectangular stone blocks and shaped like flat-topped pyramids. It incorporates elaborate carvings, passageways and water channels that may have been used for religious rituals. Though now largely in ruins, the size of the complex impressed a 16th-century Spanish explorer so much that he believed it was built by a race of ancient giants.