Architecture can reveal a great deal about a location. It can tell the local inhabitants’ culture, history, and values. This is why seasoned travelers pay attention to the structures and landscapes they visit to learn more about the environment and the locals. Every location worldwide has iconic designs, but some have become more renowned. Below are twelve well-celebrated iconic buildings from around the world.
1. Colosseum–Rome, Italy
The Flavian Amphitheatre, often known as the Colosseum, was constructed around 72–80 AD in ancient Rome. The stadium can hold up to 50,000 people and was primarily utilized for gladiatorial contests. It is now one of the most visited places in Rome, receiving millions of tourists each year.
2. Eiffel Tower–Paris
The 324-meter-tall soaring iron lattice structure (1,063 feet) is a famous landmark in Paris and a technological marvel in the annals of building construction. Its original purpose was as an archway leading visitors into the 1889 World’s Fair. Among 700 submissions, this tower was selected to be the centerpiece of the World’s Fair.
3. The Great Wall of China—China
China’s emperors constructed it over many decades to serve as a barrier along China’s original northern boundary. Watchtowers, beacon towers, and other defensive features were built using methods that demonstrated ancient China’s superior engineering prowess and military acumen. The Great Wall symbolizes Chinese unity and is a testament to the country’s long and prosperous history and military might.
4. Taj Mahal—Agra, India
The Taj Mahal, commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, is often considered “the jewel of Muslim art in India.” The tomb of the Emperor’s wife, who died while giving birth to their 14th child, is a popular tourist attraction sometimes mistaken for a palace. Its famed white marble front displays exquisite inlay work, and calligraphy attests to the building’s superior design.
5. The Burj Khalifa—Dubai, the United Arab Emirates
At an astounding 828 meters (2,740 feet) tall, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s highest structure. It has also shattered the records for the tallest and free-standing structures. The tower’s distinctive appearance is derived from Islamic architecture. Its tapering form and setbacks enhance its visual effect.
6. The Shard—London, United Kingdom
The Shard is a mixed-use building including places of business, apartments for rent, a hotel, and restaurants and shops. Having many uses makes it an exciting place for business, pleasure, and hospitality. It is currently the highest skyscraper in the United Kingdom. The Shard’s façade is made up of angled glass panes that reflect sunlight and the sky above, making the tower appear to float in the sky and alter its appearance according to the time of day and the weather.
7. The Pyramids of Giza—Cairo, Egypt
When you consider the primitive tools and materials that were at the designers’ disposal, the pyramids become even more impressive. Massive stone blocks were skillfully carved and assembled into a pyramidal shape to create these magnificent monuments. Three different pharaohs had tombs constructed here in the Third and Fourth Dynasties.
8. The Acropolis—Athens, Greece
The Acropolis is an ancient hilltop citadel with significant cultural and historical significance. It was pivotal in developing democracy, philosophy, and the arts in ancient Greece and was the center of Athenian civilization. The views of Athens from the top of the Acropolis are breathtaking. People can look down on the sprawling city, the mountains, and the Aegean Sea from its high spot.
9. Sagrada Familia—Barcelona, Spain
The fact that it is still being built is one of the building’s defining features. Construction began in 1882 but is yet to be finished. Despite this, the structure is easily identifiable due to its unique features, like its towering spires and ornate front. Five generations have now seen the Temple of the People of Barcelona rise from the ground. The Guinness Book of Records acknowledges it as the tallest modernist church in the world designed in the art-nouveau style.
10. St. Basil’s Cathedral—Moscow, Russia
Basil’s Cathedral has a unique and eye-catching design that has made it famous. The Cathedral’s design takes inspiration from Jerusalem’s architecture. It also incorporates Byzantine, Gothic, and Russian Orthodox styles. It contains nine domes, each representing one of the saints canonized by Ivan the Terrible, on whose orders the Cathedral was built.
11. Statue of Liberty—New York City, United States
The 151-foot-tall statue is made of copper sheets affixed to an iron structure. The crown, flame, and billowing cloak all display the skilled craftsmanship of the sculptors who made it. The statue’s copper skin was hammered into shape by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, while Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel devised the steel structure. First presented as a gift from France, it has come to symbolize freedom in the United States.
12. Sydney Opera House—Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Opera House is a stunningly beautiful white building and a prominent feature of the Sydney skyline due to its position on Bennelong Point. Its modern expressionist design has a number of enormous precast concrete “shells” that serve as the building’s roofing. The Opera House paved the way for some of the extremely intricate geometries of modern architecture.
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