Top 10 Things Designed To Last 1,000 Years


Celebrating’s 1,000th list, coming up on August 3, 2012, here is our 3rd list this week about the number 1,000.

Apparently, there’s something captivating about large, round numbers, especially if they contain many zeroes.  Round numbers pull our deepest psychological strings.  To be honest, I felt quite emotional when I realized TopTenz will be soon publishing its 1,000th list.

Reaching positive milestones make us want to celebrate and, according to psychological research, round numbers play an important role.  Remember turning 50?  Class reunions are held at 10, 15 or 20 years after graduating, we assess a President’s performance after 100 days in office, and some of the biggest religious debates of our time gravitate around number 1,000.

TopTenz is coming up on its 1,000 list, so the team decided to prepare a set of top 10 lists around this symbolic number.  Here’s my list: top 10 things designed to last 1,000 years. What do you think?  Could they really last so long, or are journalists and marketers using this number as a hook?

10.  Kalachakra World Peace Stupa


A rare and sacred Buddhist monument is taking shape at the Crystal Castle complex in Australia.  Building a stupa is an incredibly sophisticated and complex process.  According to specialists, the stupa is the earliest form of Buddhist architectural expression.  There are eight types of Tibetan stupas.

The Kalachakra World Peace Stupa is the first of its kind south of the equator (7th in the world), and is meant to protect people against negative energy flows and restore balance in times of crisis.

Combining ancient design principles with advanced technology, the time capsule blessed by the Dalai Lama is built to last 1,000 years. The stupa should be finished before the end of 2012, and will be filled with relics, holy objects, and scriptures.


9.  Prince William’s Tribute To Diana


In 2008, Prince William became a Royal Knight Companion of the Order Garter. The Queen made William the 1,000th knight to join the oldest British order of chivalry.

When receiving his traditional ceremonial symbol upon being knighted, William requested that designers incorporate Princess Diana’s family logo as well.  In addition, both he and his brother Harry requested a scallop shell on their Garter Crests and Coat of Arms, as a long-lasting tribute to their mother.  The multiple-layered statue, made out of 24-carat gold, is designed to last at least 1,000 years.


8.  Art To Last A Millennium


Buell Mullen (1901- 1986) was an internationally acclaimed artist who developed, after eight years of experimentation, a new technique of painting on metals. The unusual textures, techniques (she etched with acid) and the sculptural, three dimensional qualities of the paintings were quite innovative for those times. Besides stainless steel, Mullen worked on aluminum, gold, chromium, copper and nickel.  Shown above is a stainless steel portrait of President Dwight Eisenhower, presented to the Seventh Regiment Armory of New York City, on their 150th birthday.


7.  Antique Bibles


Do you know why antique bibles have survived over the centuries so well?  The answer lies in how they were made.  Nowadays, most books and bibles are designed to last for generations, between 30 and 60 years; antique bibles, however, could last a thousand years!  They hold up incredibly well because they were printed on parchment (treated animal skins), or on acid-free cotton linen sheets.  Since leather bindings typically last around 100 to 300 years, most antique bibles have been rebound in thick leather at some point.

The Codex Sinaiticus, for example, was handwritten over 1,600 years ago on 800 pages of parchment.  It is one of the four great uncial codices that contain the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament.


6.  St. Louis Gateway Arch


The 630-feet tall Gateway Arch, also known as Gateway to the West, is the tallest monument in the United States.  The stainless steel arch rises above the skyline of St. Louis, and is a symbol of America’s westward expansion.  Architect Eero Saarinen and structural engineer Fred Severud designed the Gateway Arch in 1965, and intended it to last 1,000 years, if properly maintained.

5.  Iznik Tiles


These vividly colored tiles, produced in Iznik (formerly Nicaea) during the 15th and 16th centuries, are one of the greatest artistic legacies of the Ottoman Empire.  The beautiful Iznik tiles still adorn the walls of many mosques (including the famous Blue Mosque), palaces, libraries and baths.

19 years ago, Prof. Dr. Isil Akbaygil visited some of Turkey’s historical edifices, and noticed that some of the tiles were as bright as new, while others were in an advanced state of deterioration.  Studies revealed that the bright tiles were indeed unique, though they hadn’t been made since the 17th century, and there were no historical records of how they were produced.

As there were no records left on how to make Iznik tiles, Dr. Akbaygil dedicated her entire career to recovering the original formula, and she succeeded.  Akbaygil founded the Iznik Training and Education Foundation and brought to life this dormant Turkish art.

Original Iznik tiles are composed of up to 95% quartz, while most tiles contain 14% to 20%.  Quartz is believed to have many health benefits: it protects against radiation, and is both durable and temperature resistant.  According to specialists, these beautiful tiles are engineered to last 1,000 years.


4.  Longplayer


Composed and developed by Jem Finer between 1995 and 1999, Longplayer is a 1000-year continuous musical piece.  The original installation has been running since December 31, 1999, and is located at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London.

If all goes as planned, Longplayer will play Finer’s music, without repetition, until the very last moment of 2999.  Check out the official website to understand how Longplayer works.  The questions raised in the Survival Strategies section are quite intriguing.

Longplayer is being streamed live online. If you encounter problems, try changing the browser.

3.  “Permanent” Paper – Nuclear Legacy


Since the mid-1940s, the human race has managed to generate so much radioactive waste that we ran out of above-ground disposal facilities. Industrial countries now have to build huge underground units where they can deposit the waste for thousands of years until the radiation levels decrease.

For a small but growing community of scientists, determining how to alert our successors to dangerous radioactive waste buried deep underground has become a challenging task.  The solution: record it all via permanent paper, which is made from chemical pulp, and has a projected longevity of 1,000 years.

The storage system for these papers requires special handling.  Documents must not be folded, stapled, glued or bound.  Each document is inserted in a permanent-paper envelope, and then archived in a permanent-cardboard register.  Documents are stored in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms.


2.  Monolithic Dome Houses (MDH)

Building industry professionals from all over world claim that monolithic dome homes are probably the most disaster-resistant homes. More and more people are embracing this concept because MDH’s have survived wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and much more.

When wildfires devastated Stephens County, Oklahoma, Jerri Strube’s monolithic dome didn’t catch on fire, despite flames surrounding it on all sides. A similar case happened in Yucaipa, California.  The “Vista Dhome” of the Braswells survived the Bryant Fire that destroyed almost 600 acres of hillside.

These houses are engineered to stand up whatever Mother Nature throws at them, and are designed to last 1,000 years.  As evidence of this, the Roman Pantheon is the monolithic dome’s oldest cousin, designed in much the same way, and will turn 2,000 years old in 2126

1.  M-Disc, The Archival Disc With A Thousand-Year Lifespan


Millenniata is an American start-up company that claims to have created a permanent file backup disc.  There are several storage media types that you can choose from, but their M-DISCs and M-WRITER Drive technology are the only ones designed to permanently archive data in a user-friendly, reliable and reasonably priced manner.

M-Disc is definitely unique in comparison with other optical disc formats. The inorganic, rock-like, data layer is the feature that sets it apart from DVDs and CDs.

The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) conducted a series of stress test to determine the disc’s durability.  M-disc was the only storage media out of five competing products that didn’t suffer any kind of degradation.  NAWCWD published these conclusions in a study called “Accelerated Life Cycle Comparison of Millenniata Archival DVD.” Millenniata believes their disc will last at least 1,000 years.


Other Articles you Might Like
Liked it? Take a second to support on Patreon!