18 Most Iconic Architectural Buildings and Places to Visit Worldwide
World's 18 Most Architectural Buildings and Places to Visit
Are you interested in traveling, adventures, or exploring other countries and cultures?... Or are you just a fan of architectural buildings and historical monuments, and memorials from all over the world? Then you are lucky because this article will guide you through 18 marvelous worldwide places, with a lot of iconic buildings with the best architectural designs. A thing that is worth discovering at least once in your life… isn’t it?
Having that said, it is time now to go on our little tour and learn more than a topic concerning each one of our fascinating stop-bys!
… So, without delay, let's get started!
- Note the similarity between some places in this article and the other monuments in the New 7 World Wonders list!
- The listing has been randomly sorted without any consideration of any kind, for you to stay concentrated only on the beauty of each chosen place!
18 World's Most Places to Visit You Should See Before You Die!
1- St. Paul Cathedral, London
Originally designed by famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren, it is London’s most historical and iconic building dedicated to Saint Paul. Unfortunately, this is the unique and only religious site still performing the rituals in our listing — Check their daily schedule here for more special events and activities.
➤ Interested in visiting religious sites worldwide instead? Check also those 5 Places to Visit in Lebanon 2020
Located on the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in London City, where the first church in the name of St. Paul was inaugurated in AD. 604, during the reign of King Aethelberht I (See Fig. 1 below).
|Fig. 1- St Paul's Cathedral, featuring the Baroque architectural style, Photo saved from Pinterest|
Works on the current English Baroque-style church didn’t start until the 17th Century as part of a major rebuilding process after the Great Fire of London (which occurs in 1666).
Since St. Paul’s has played an essential role in London’s history ever—as a dominant architectural element in the city’s skyline at first (Fig. 2), and notably a target for tourism and religious worship, secondly.
|Fig. 2- Bird's eye view of St Paul's Cathedral in hazy weather, Photo by Ollie Craig from Pexels|
Fig. 3- Another point of view of the Cathedral showing the integration of old styles, notably baroque, along with modernism, Photo saved from Pinterest.com
2- St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow — Russia
The edifice, constructed during the 16th century, is not a cathedral anymore; turned into a museum in 1928, it serves as a division of the "State Historical Museum" of Russia.
Historically, it was built from 1555 to 1561 under the commands of Ivan the Terrible and honors the deaths of the Kazan and Astrakhan battles (located in the Southern-Russian territory).
At that time, it was the city's tallest building, regarding its high domed towers pointing to the sky, until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600, which is the church bell tower inside the Kremlin Complex with a height of 81 meters in total, compared to 65 meters for the St. Basil’s (Fig. 4)
|Fig. 4- Saint Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square- Moscow, Photo Source: eng.wikipedia.org|
Known as the "Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed" by most Russians, but commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is originally an Orthodox church. This bright, multi-colored cathedral is, in fact, Moscow’s most popular cultural and power symbol; It is located just outside the Kremlin gates, within the Red Square of Moscow, and history full of events. It is one of Russia’s Capital places to visit for tourist attractions and destinations that shouldn't be missed when staying in Moscow.
3- Taj Mahal, India
Nominated as one of the New 7 World Wonders, the Taj Mahal is recognized as ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India’ and considered one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural styles ever.
Effectively, it is one of the most places to visit in the world!
The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor "Shah Jahan" in memory of his wife giving birth to their 14th child after her death. Therefore, this wonderful edifice is often mistaken as being a palace or castle, while it was built as a mausoleum for the Emperor’s wife. (Fig. 5) It also houses the cemetery of Shah Jahan himself.
|Fig. 5- Taj Mahal in India, Photo by Anuradha Gupta from Pexels|
The confusion behind it is simply because the immensity and richness of that edifice make it hard to believe that it is just a memorial for the deceased; However, the presence of four minarets on its corners delimits what is similar to the zone of the Sahn, and giving it a more tolerable significance as for a religious building.
Anyway, the construction of the tomb started in 1632 and was completed in 1648. It is believed that the "Taj Mahal" complex has been completed to its fullness in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which would be approximately 70 billion rupees (about U.S.$ 956 million in our days). Also, it should not be forgotten that the surrounding annexes and landscaped gardens and paths, which took an additional five years to complete, are no less beautiful than the original building itself.
➤ Read also: The New 7 Wonders of the World for further references.
4- Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia
As we switch to a modern architectural building, we all agree on the brilliant concept of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the financial and economic district, and capital of Malaysia. The iconic architectural building has become the symbol of the huge Malay economic growth that occurs during the last decade. (Fig. 6)
|Fig. 6- High-rise buildings of Kuala Lumpur, featuring the twin towers in the middle, Photo by Yulia from Pexels|
|Fig. 7- Detail of the facade, showing the influence of the Islamic symbol over the design and the concept, discussed above. Photo from Pexels|
|Fig. 8- Presentation showing the Islamic symbol used in the conception of the Tower, Photo from: eng.wikipedia.org|
Back to Petronas Towers, held the title of Tallest Building in the World for more than six years, between 1998 and 2004 as it stands 170 meters above the ground. It was designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, as a commercial office building while keeping in mind creating a tourist attraction and a landmark; And in fact, he did!
Influenced by the Rub3-el-Hizb (spelled in Arabic as ربع الحزب) which is also known as the Islamic Star. The Islamic symbol is composed of two overlapping squares forming the shape of an Octa gram. (As shown in Fig. 8 above)
5- The White House, Washington — United States
Who does not know about The White House yet, the official residency, and the workplace of the United States president? However, did you ever know that you can actually visit this edifice for good and learn more about its sections in detail and the usage of each room accompanied by a professional touristic guide? Luckily, you can do this!
Fig. 9- The White House from the south yard, Photo by Aaron Kittredge from Pexels
Anyway, did you ever ask yourself whose behind the design of the famous White House?
Here is the story: In 1792, Irish architect James Hoban submitted a plan intended for the presidential mansion and his workplace team. Eventually, he got approved and the construction began in 1793, a year after the submission, and through the completion in 1801. The residence, which has been home to every US leader since President John Adams, is built with white-painted Aquia sandstone, from where derives its name.
Consisting of three floors, the ground floor is somehow hidden by a parapet and a raised carriage slope, therefore the façade seems to be including only two floors. (Fig. 9 above) The complex can be divided into three main parts or sections: Executive Residence, East Wing, and West Wing, and surrounded by relaxing and beautifully landscaped green gardens and yards along with every side of the building. (See the general layout in Fig. 10 above)
6- The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
|Fig. 10- Leaning Tower of Pisa with its Cathedral, Photo by Hitesh Choudhary from Pexels|
One of the most extraordinary architectural buildings and visited places in Europe. As its name indicate, the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" is most famous for its tilt; The construction is the freestanding bell tower, of the "Pisa Cathedral" in Italy — See Fig. 10; The tower began to lean during its construction after soft ground on one side was accidentally caught on-site, and was unable to properly support the structure’s weight.
Due to restoration works carried out in 2001, the tower currently leans at just less than 4 degrees. It is estimated that it will collapse and fall in the upcoming 75 to 100 years. Building works on the tower began in the 12th century and the completion went on for over 300 years (till the 14th century).
There has been much confusion regarding the true identity of the architect whose behind the tower — The design was originally accredited to artist Bonnano Pisano but studies have also involved architect Diotisalvi.
7- Empire State Building, New York — United States
It might be impossible to put together a list of the world-famous architectural buildings without including this Art Deco era-styled immense skyscraper of 102 floors. The architectural firm Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon was put in charge of the execution of the building, which was designed by William F Lamb.
Fig. 11- Empire State Building near multistage houses against the ocean, Photo by Charles Parker from Pexels
It is known in the world as the iconic landmark of New York City: Its Art Deco architectural style, height, and observatory decks have made it a popular worldwide attraction. The construction began on the Empire State Building in 1930 and was completed in just one year and 45 days.
Since its inauguration in 1931, the building attracts more than 4.0 M tourists yearly from around the world. It was declared to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Previously nominated as the Tallest Building in the World, it was topped by the World Trade Center (WTC) starting the year 1973, which became the tallest construction on the planet ever since. Unfortunately, the WTC1 and WTC2 were down during the 11th of September terrorist attacks in 2001.
8- Lloyds Building, London — UK
Situated on Lime Street in London, this futuristic architectural building looks like it belongs to a sci-fi movie rather than realism. The Grade I listing was granted to Lloyds building in 2011, which has become an iconic landmark ever since and was the first of its kind in the UK.
Fig. 12- Lloyds Building, Photo from Financial Times
➤ Read also: Worldwide Architectural Projects in 2016 for more fabulous projects.
Architect Richard Rogers was the man behind the innovative design; In fact, you will be fascinated that the building had its main mechanical services — such as water pipes, ducts, and staircases — visible to the outside. in need to maximize the interior space.
This gives its known name as the Inside-Out Building.
Raised between 1978 and 1986, the building is one of the most recognizable constructions that transformed the London skyline.
Regarding its futuristic design, the building appears in the movie Blade Runner (1997) of director Ridley Scott. Well-known for his science-fiction movies, notably the horror series Alien, Lloyds Building was the proper choice to feature in an ahead of his time movie scenario. His designs were to establish relationship between architecture and filmmaking.
9- Colosseum, Rome — Italy
This elliptical amphitheater in the center of Rome is considered one of the greatest architectural and archaeological monuments attained by the Ancient Roman civilization. The stadium was capable of seating 50,000 spectators and was used mainly for gladiatorial games, in favor of the emperor’s entertainment.
|Fig. 13- The Colosseum - Rome during dawn, Photo by Azhar Muhammedu from Pexels|
The construction of the Colosseum began around 72AD and finished in 80AD. Built from concrete and stone, the design and shape of the Roman amphitheater have been the inspiration for many architects nowadays. Today it is one of Rome’s most popular touristic attractions and visited places in the world, being one of the new 7 wonders of the modern world, attracting thousands of visitors yearly.
10- Sydney Opera House, Sydney — Australia
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, but completed by an Australian architectural team headed by Peter Hall, the Sydney Opera House is widely viewed as one of the greatest modern architectural projects of the 20th century. The building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 and dominated the port of Sydney's global view. (Fig. 14)
|Fig. 14- Sydney Opera House, Photo by Connor Slade from Pexels|
The beautiful building includes three groups of interlocking shells, which cover two main performance halls and a restaurant, where the roof structures are commonly referred to as "shells”.
The building and its surroundings occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour and are adjacent to the Sydney Central Business District. A masterpiece and landmark of modern architecture, the Opera House of Sydney has become an iconic symbol of both Sydney and the Australian nation, along with the famous Australian Kanguru!
11- Space Needle, Seattle — United States
The futuristic Space Needle was built in Seattle Center, Washington for the 1962 World's Fair, which drew over 2.3 million visitors. Standing at 184m high and 42m at its widest point, the famous landmark features an observatory deck at 520 ft (160 meters) above ground.
|Fig. 15- The Space Needle in Seattle - Washington, Photo by Josh Fields from Pexels|
It was opened in 1961, giving multiple amazing views of the downtown Seattle skyline. (as shown in Fig. 15)
The project was designed by a combined effort of architects Edward E Carlson and John Graham. The building has a remarkable and impressive design that can survive wind speeds and can even escape serious structural damage during earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitudes.
No need to mention that its architectural design is a marvel to look at any time of the day! The traveling trajectory reaching its summit, especially at night, is an enjoyable thing to achieve especially to contemplate the brilliance of the city’s lights. Another place to visit indeed!
12- Hagia Sophia, Istanbul — Turkey
A perfect example of Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia is located in Turkey, overwhelming the capital Istanbul.
The building process started in 532, and it ends in 537. The Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I was behind the construction of the Cathedral of Constantinople, The church was then the world's largest interior space and among the first for using a full pendentive dome. It has 32.6 meters of diameter built in only a thickness of 0.61 meters, making it the thinnest vault.
Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum; After the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was converted into a mosque. In 1935, the secular Turkish Republic re-opened it as a museum, and in 2020, it returned to a mosque. Despite this, Hagia Sophia is widely recognized as one of the greatest and most visited places for religious buildings in the world.
13- Flatiron Building, Manhattan — New York
|Fig. 17- Flatiron Building, Photo by Marlon Trottmann from Pexels|
The marvelous and beautiful Flatiron building in Manhattan was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and built-in 1902. It is a triangular-shaped 22-story building and (86.9 meters) high steel-framed landmarked building.
The building, we should admit it, has bizarre architecture somehow, and lay on a triangular plot formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street. (Fig.17) For this reason it has this very unique architectural volume. It was one of the tallest constructions in the city upon its completion in 1902.
14- Buckingham Palace, London — UK
It is the official and formal residence of the British royal family when the mansion wasn’t more than a small red brick house.
In 1735, George III, the King of Great Britain and Ireland, bought the property. Since then, several architects succeed in designing the building to make it what it is likely today (Fig. 18);
John Nash, Edmund Blore, Sir Aston Webb, and others can be cited among those designers that worked on the progression and development of the Royal Palace.
Fig. 18- Red flowers on a green grass field near Buckingham Palace in London, Photo by Craige McGonigle from Pexels
The palace also had to undergo major restoration works after being blown up multiple times during World War II. However, it is the only royal residence among a few other royal palaces that remain working in the actual world nowadays.
15- Fallingwater, Pennsylvania — United States
Designed by famous American and well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934, and located in Pennsylvania, Fallingwater is quite possibly the most famous private residence that ever existed on the planet.
Well, the unique design makes it look like the house is flying and standing over a 30ft waterfall, with no solid ground beneath it. (See Fig.19 above)
The house was originally planned as being a weekend or relaxing home for Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann's family, the owner of Kaufmann's Department Store. When it was completed in 1939, the advanced and ahead-of-his-time design captured the attention of critics from various countries...
Interesting Fact: Regarding the big success of the real Fallingwater, It is a cool idea that you offer a Lego version of this architectural masterpiece to those whom you love!
16- Villa Savoye, France
Selected as an early and classic example of the International Style Villa Savoye is a major architectural style that emerged in the 20s and 30s of the last century.
The French Savoye family had originally delegated the famous and well-known today’s architect to build a country house for their holidays. Yeah! You guessed right; it is Le Corbusier (The architect born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930)
The property was built in 1928 and designated as an official French historical monument in 1965.
17- Pantheon, Rome — Italy
Rome is home to many amazing ancient buildings, especially related to the Roman Empire. The Pantheon is one of those historical monuments that marked a good part of humanity's history.
It is a former Roman temple; Its name means “temple of all the gods".
It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings because it has been in continuous use since the 7th century. The Pantheon has been dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" and has been used as a church since its inauguration in the 7th century as said previously.
Resisting the flames twice and reconstructed each time, the building was destroyed and rebuilt started as a rectangular structure, which, over time, transformed into the actual gorgeous dome existing today. It is good to mention that the Pantheon roof remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome, of its immensity and significant volume.
It was the inspiration for many architects and designers from all over the world for over 2,000 years. There is much argument among historians over which emperor and architects were responsible for the Pantheon’s design, built around 126AD.
18- Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai — United Arab Emirates
And we reach the last of our list, which is the least is the world’s tallest building: Yes, your estimation is right, it is the famous Burj Khalifa.
The enormous skyscraper and huge landmark of Dubai Downtown stand at a gigantic 828.9 meters high and is the tallest building on the planet since its construction. A total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators constitute the main flow and movement between the different floors and levels, ensuring the smoothness of the vertical circulation system inside the tower.
|Fig. 21- View of the tallest building in the world, Burj-Khalifa, Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels|
Construction began in 2004 and finish six years later in 2010. The task of creating the world’s tallest manmade structure was awarded to the Chicago office of American architectural and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merril LLP, which designed the Willis Tower in Chicago city and the new One World Trade Center in New York. A modern structure not to be missed and a place to visit at least once in your life, because the view from up is worth the effort!
IN THE END, HOPE YOU DID ENJOY THE LISTING and guide you through the destination of your next vacation and trip, and my suggested places to visit.
HAPPY TOURING TO ALL!
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