Greatest Monumental Arch?

I’ve always been fascinated by monumental arches, mainly because just… why? What is it about a towering ornamental gate that has fascinated builders across the globe for centuries? Unlike statues, plaques or other monuments, arches seem to hint at some form of utility while serving none. I’m sure that there is a real architectural answer to my questions, but no matter their true origins, I can’t deny that monumental arches are really staggering, and I love every one of them. From the simple sweep of Missouri’s Gateway Arch, to the fiddly, Classical greebling of the Arch of Constantine in Rome, monument arches never fail to inspire a bit of awe. Now tell us about the most incredible arches from around the globe that you’ve ever encountered!

(Image: John McLinden/CC BY-ND 2.0)

In the comments below, tell us about your favorite monumental arch, how you came across it, and what you love about it! And if you have any pics of your amazing arch, send them over as well! Your submission may be included in a round-up article on Atlas Obscura! Monumental arches might not serve a practical purpose, but they are the perfect gateways to wonder.

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Not sure if they count but I love flower arches, in particular the laburnum arch at Bodnant gardens. I mean it’s not a very rare tree and really it’s just a load of branches intertwined in a metal mesh but for about a month it becomes one of the biggest tourist attractions in north wales. I love it but really it’s a very odd thing at face value and very pointless, but at the same time it’s pretty beautiful, even if it is pretty fleeting

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Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, constructed for the World Fair in 1888. Today it is a beautiful place to stroll/cycle/skate for tourists and locals alike, and the promenade it sits on leads right to the front steps of the beautiful Ciutadella park. I love it because it has so much character, even though it is smaller than its peers in places like Paris.

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That is a great submission. (And a great user name.)

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Does it count if its part of a whole building that is going to be a Waldorf Astoria? Because Admiralty Arch in London is my favorite.


(Pic from Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, File:Arco del Almirantazgo, Londres, Inglaterra, 2014-08-11, DD 186.JPG - Wikimedia Commons)

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The Province of Terni in Italy has several great examples of Roman arches. We visited the archaeological site of Carsulae in April 2019, which is an about a 20 minute drive north of the city of Terni. Carsulae was a Roman town founded circa 300 BC that grew into a major town with the building of Via Flaminia (220-219 BC).

This arch over Via Flaminia marks the northern entrance to Carsulae.

This is what remains of the monumental arch (Tetrapilo) in the Forum of Carsulae.

Finally, this arch sits atop the amphitheater.

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Hahaha! Love the username.

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This is hardly the “greatest” arch in the world, but qualifies for me on the grounds of sentimentality. When I first moved from (a very young) Australia to (a very old) England in my early twenties I was blown away by the landscape just dripping in ~incidental history~ everywhere I turned. I drove past this archway every day, and it just seemed so romantic and beautiful that a small group of people living inside Heatherton Park got to enter their village via this picturesque arch. I eventually bought a place inside Heatherton Park, and had the joy of driving through this archway every day for about five years. It never once got old.

I don’t have any of my own photos so have relied on Google maps screenshots… here is the location for those interested: https://goo.gl/maps/8oP3XY2JTfpRsHmK7

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This is lovely!

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There’s a very impressive arch in Bucharest and I believe that it’s a copy of the arc de triumph I Paris? there’s marble Arch in London.theres the modern Grand arch just beyond Paris which is a building of about 40 floors high .I can’t remember what town it’s in but is conjoined to Paris however technically a separate town.

This is the Arco Dei Gavi, in Verona, Italy. It was commissioned in the 1st century, A.D, I think it has so much character.

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The Arch at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York

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“Baroque,” a wire sculpture by Edoardo Tresoldi, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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Arch Rock. Mackinac Island, Michigan.
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Arch of Triumph located in Bucharest, Romania. There was a time you could drive through this arch (at least in 1998 and 1999 when I was there)!

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There’s a Roman arch (and colosseum/amphitheater/arena) in Pula, Croatia called the arch of Sergii. Its from about 30BC. It’s on a plaza and leads down a pedestrian street to another main plaza. image

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I, too, have wondered what the hell the purpose is of an arch, while also noting how awe-inspiring they can be. The best way I can think to describe them is that they make a great picture. They’re literally picture frames for wherever you’re going.

And since most of the stuff here seems to be of Western derivation, I wanted to highlight some of the rest of the world.

Here’s one of the paifang gates at the Summer Palace in Beijing (which is a friggin’ gorgeous place in every respect).


Here’s another pic that I took while there. A smaller arch/rest spot up on the hill.

This beautiful thing in Shunfeng Park, Guangdong

The torana arch at the Sanchi Stupa in India.

I mean, you could spend forever looking up Indian toranas and be happy. This one from the Mukteshvara Temple.

The Spanish Arch in Lima, Peru. Western, yes. But I haven’t seen anything South American yet.

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YES! Toranas are gorgeous!

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Here’s one of my favorites of the natural variety:


Royal Arches in Yosemite National Park

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