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What is an adjective for an inanimate object that is very old and held in very high esteem?

Especially in the context of buildings for example:

The government building is ____ . Many people flock to visit it every year.

Antique doesn't seem to be a good choice as it doesn't always give the meaning of something being held in very high esteem.

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Are you looking for a noun, or would something like "venerable" do? –  user867 Dec 17 '12 at 6:59
    
I'm looing for an adjective –  nicholas ainsworth Dec 17 '12 at 7:27
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You should have mentioned that in the question. –  Mr Lister Dec 17 '12 at 8:39
    
historical, historic, renowned, totemic (not exactly the best for a building), monumental. Also try a thesaurus. –  Mitch Dec 17 '12 at 13:29
    
On the scope of age, are you looking for something that would be considered younger than ancient? My first thought was to use the word prestigious, but it lacks any sense of age. –  jdstankosky Dec 17 '12 at 14:07

4 Answers 4

If it were smaller, I might well go with an heirloom, but probably not for a building. There you might may have to stick with some sort of historical monument or even a national treasure. You might also be able to work in heritage there somehow, as in a world heritage site.

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The government building is an historic landmark.

landmark : 2. A notable location with historical, cultural, or geographical significance

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A landmark doesn't need to be very old, as required by the OP. It only needs to be notorious. –  CesarGon Dec 17 '12 at 9:23
    
@CesarGon: I think that's why Jim proposed historic landmark. While it is indeed possible for historic landmarks to be relatively new (NASA's mission control center comes to mind), they are regarded to be generally old, I think. I believe newer historic landmarks would be the exception rather than the rule. –  J.R. Dec 17 '12 at 10:32
    
@J.R.: I agree; I didn't downvote the answer because I am aware of that. Just making a point since the OP wants a single word. –  CesarGon Dec 17 '12 at 19:46

Currently I hear a lot of the expression heritage structure.

Though dictionaries generally define a monument as a commemorative, the term is also used in the cultural context for a structure of heritage value:

"• Monumental heritage of exceptional cultural value;" (UNESCO: Historic Urban Landscape)

Wikipedia includes the 'heritage' sense of usage:

Monument
... which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or simply as an example of historic architecture.

Oxford Dict.

monument a building, structure, or site that is of historical importance or interest

I feel the example sentence sounds better with a noun instead.

The government building is a heritage monument. Many people flock to visit it every year.

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I like edifice but it’s a noun not an adjective. You could combine with it an adjective such as stately -

The government building is a stately edifice. Many people flock to it every year.

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