15 of The World’s Most Beautiful Buildings
When learning about a new destination’s history, travelers should look no further than its iconic buildings. Of course, there are other ways to discover the local culture, which can be reflected in the food, the textiles, and the dialects, but the buildings can reveal the most about a place. Local landmarks are silent witnesses to past eras, kingdoms, and tastes, but they can also offer clues to what the future holds (not to mention make for a great travel gram, too).
Consider this lineup to be a travel bucket list of sorts. These buildings are renowned for various reasons, some for their architectural charm, others for their historical significance, and some for a healthy mix of both. A fair amount of them are well-known, of course. These buildings are selected in terms of their construction, architecture, perspective, and interiors. So without wasting any time, let’s get started.
Hagia Sophia — Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya in Turkish) is considered the best and the most visited tourist attraction in Istanbul and the neighboring Topkapi Palace. Hagia Sophia is a former church and museum declared one of the world’s greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world.
Hagia Sophia was rebuilt as a church in 325 in 537 and was converted into a mosque by Fatih Sultan Mehmet after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Serving as a museum since 1935, a decree on 10th of July 2020 to formally declare the Hagia Sophia as a mosque after Turkey’s administrative court annulled a 1934-dated decision that paved the way for the use of Hagia Sophia as a museum.
Taj Mahal – Agra, India
The Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is situated on the bank of river Yamuna in Agra (India). Taj is a symbol of the great Mughal heritage of India and the eternity of love. Experiencing The Taj Mahal is like a journey back to the magnificent Mughal Empire. This monument is simply the expression of emotions in a structural form, so it is regarded as a monument of love.
So, it’s a place worth visiting to memorize the love in your life. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal monument in 1631 as a tribute to his loving wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The grand Taj Mahal monument is more than 350 years old. It was built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor of India. Even after such a long period, the fragrance of love in the Taj Mahal is as it is.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasília — Brasília, Brazil
The Cathedral of Brasilia was the very first monument to have been erected in the futuristic capital city of Brasilia. Oscar Niemeyer, the cathedral designer, was honored with the Pritzker Prize in 1988 for his avant-garde design, which came out as a powerful expression of society’s personality in a unique form.
The structure of the metropolitan cathedral of Brasilia was completed in 1960. The diameter of the circular base is 70 feet. The structural design of the cathedral was proposed by engineer Joaquim Cardozo. Featuring a hyperboloid shape, the cathedral weighs 90 tons.
Chateau Frontenac, Quebec, Canada
Château Frontenac, a château-style hotel in historic Old Québec, was built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company in 1893 and designed by American architect Bruce Price.
The Château Frontenac is an excellent example of the grand hotels developed by railway companies in Canada in the late 1800s. Considered the world’s most photographed hotel, it was designated a National Historic Site in 1981.
St. Basil’s Cathedral —Moscow, Russia
St. Basils Cathedral is Moscow’s most famous artistic work of architecture. Also called “Pokrovsky Cathedral” or “The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat”, it is the most recognizable Russian building.
This Cathedral means to Russians the same as the Eiffel Tower to the French, an honorable symbol of their past, present, and future.
Casa Milà — Barcelona, Spain.
The Casa Milà – certainly one of the most famous and impressive buildings of Modernisme – is the last building by the brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí before he devoted himself entirely to the construction of the La Sagrada Família.
If there is one building in Barcelona that you “must-see,” then Casa Milà is one of them. In 1984, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Since 2013 it has been the headquarters of the Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera, which manages the visit to the building, exhibitions, and other cultural and educative activities at Casa Milà.
La Sagrada Familia — Barcelona, Spain.
La Sagrada Família, the cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, was designed by Antonio Gaudí.
Begun in 1882 and still unfinished, the Roman Catholic basilica of La Sagrada Família (The Holy Family) is one of Barcelona s most famous landmarks. It is an unexpected sight in its industrial setting, with its bold flying buttresses and twisted towers looming over the city.
Forbidden City — Beijing, China
Enclosed by 3.5km of citadel walls at the heart of Beijing, the Unesco-listed Forbidden City is China s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings – large enough to comfortably absorb the 16 million visitors it receives each year.
Steeped in stultifying ritual, this otherworldly palace was the reclusive home to two dynasties of imperial rule, sharing 900-plus buildings with a retinue of eunuchs, servants, and concubines until the Republic overthrew the last Qing emperor in 1911.
Angkor Wat — Siem Reap, Cambodia
The temple is one of the largest monuments to religion ever built and is truly one of the wonders of the world. Believed to have been constructed as a temple and mausoleum for King Suryavarman II at the peak of the Khmer empire in the first half of the 12th century.
Angkor Wat is probably the best-preserved of the Angkor temples. As with other Angkor temples and walled cities such as Angkor Thom, the central theme of Khmer architecture revolved around the temple mountain. By the time building on Angkor Wat was begun early in the 12th century, this had been elaborated to a central tower surrounded by four smaller towers.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque — Istanbul, Turkey
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, also known by its official name, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is an Ottoman-era historical imperial mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. A functioning mosque, it also attracts large numbers of tourist visitors. It was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah, and a hospice.
Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes sit next to the Hagia Sophia, the principal mosque of Istanbul until the Blue Mosque’s construction and another popular tourist site.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao —Bilbao, Spain
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a modern and contemporary art museum designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The museum was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, exhibiting 250 contemporary works of art.
Built alongside the Nervion River, which runs through the city of Bilbao to the Cantabrian Sea, it is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. It features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists.
Burj Khalifa — Dubai, UAE
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building globally and a global icon. Truly a feat of engineering, the building represents the conceptual heart and soul of the city of Dubai.
At 828m tall, this magnificent structure is located next to Dubai Mall and has drawn visitors worldwide since opening in 2010. The unmatched Burj Khalifa view can be taken in from not one but two observation decks.
Eiffel Tower — Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower is a 1,083-foot tall (330 m) wrought iron lattice tower in Paris, France. It’s both a marvel of 19th-century engineering and a city symbol. A popular nickname for the tower is La Dame de Fer or The Iron Lady.
It is Paris’s most famous and most visited tourist attraction. Every day thousands of visitors flock to the tower to enjoy the marvelous views from the top and the evening light shows.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle, which translates to New Swan Stone castle, is located in Bavaria, Germany. It was originally called New Hohenschwangau Castle, as it was meant to be a grand recreation of Hohenschwangau Castle, where Ludwig II spent his childhood.
The older Schloss Hohenschwangau now sits in Neuschwanstein’s magnificent shadow. Its modern name, considered a reference to Wagner’s character, the Swan Night, was not acquired until after Ludwig II’s death. Travelers visiting Neuschwanstein Castle will need to travel to the village of Hohenschwangau, where the ticket center is located.
Paro Taktsang Monastery
Taktsang Palphug Monastery, more famous as Paro Taktsang, is a Buddhist temple complex that clings to a cliff, 3120 meters above sea level, on the side of the upper Paro valley, Bhutan.
Mountainous Paro valley is the heart of Bhutan; the only international airport in the country is located here. The Taktsang Palphug Monastery is one of the country’s most famous touristic destinations and Bhutan’s cultural icon. Paro Taktsang Visiting the Paro Taktsang Monastery is an unforgettable experience thanks to its unique location and the views of surrounding majestic mountains and emerald green valleys.