From the Colosseum to the Empire State Building, all of the world’s most iconic buildings were made of stone — and with good reason. Its durability and longevity are second to none!  Here are just a few examples of strong stone structures throughout the world:

The White House

Arguably the most famous address in the U.S., the presidential residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is made of Aquia sandstone. Construction began in 1793 and ended in 1801. The house was designed by Irish architect James Hoban and has been home to every president since John Adams.

Although each president has the opportunity to redesign the building’s interior, the exterior has remained virtually untouched for more than 200 years. The Aquia sandstone used on the White House came from a small island quarry on Aquia Creek in Virginia. It was also used on several other prominent Washington buildings including the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

This eight-story structure is made of marble and took nearly 200 years to build after construction began in 1173. There has been much controversy surrounding the true identity of the architect behind the tower. The design was originally attributed to artist Bonnano Pisano, but recent studies have also named architect Diotisalvi.

The tower developed its trademark lean after the ground on one side became too soft to properly support its weight while construction on the second story was underway. Lengthy construction delays allowed time for the ground to settle before building resumed; otherwise the tower would have toppled completely.

Taj Mahal

Also known as ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India’, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Construction on the marble structure began in 1632 and ended in 1648. It is regarded as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture, a combination of Indian, Persian, and Turkish styles.

Often mistaken for a palace, this famous landmark was actually built as a mausoleum, or tomb, for the emperor’s wife after she died giving birth to their 14th child. Today, it attracts about 8 million visitors per year from around the world.