The world, both ancient and modern, offers many thrilling examples of beautiful architecture. From imposing structures formed completely of stone to modern skyscrapers made of steel and glass, tourists and residents in numerous cities around the world have a variety of awe-inspiring monuments and buildings that pique curiosity, rouse the imagination and create a love of and interest in history. These five offerings are just a brief sampling of the most exemplary options from all corners of the world.
The Coliseum is one of the most beautiful buildings left from the ancient world. Originally built as an amphitheatre during Rome’s Imperial Age, it has since been used as army barracks, a fortress and a religious shrine. The Emperor Vespasian saw the work begin on the colossal concrete and stone structure in A.D. 70, and it was completed during the reign of Titus in A.D. 80. Although parts of the Coliseum stones have tumbled down during earthquakes, the majority of the structure remains as a glimpse into the age of gladiators and the beginning of modern stage dramas.
St. Paul’s Cathedral has formed part of the skyline of London, England, for centuries and has managed to survive war and enemy attacks. The site of St. Paul’s has been a church since A.D. 604 although the present building was not completed until 1708 by Sir Christopher Wren. The most impressive part of the cathedral is its dome, which rises 112 meters above the floor of the structure.
The Empire State Building in New York City was once the tallest building in the world. Although it has since been surpassed by many buildings around the world, it was originally built in a race among several nations to have the tallest skyscraper. Completed in 1931, it is still used today for office space and broadcasting, and its observation deck draws thousands of tourists annually.
The Selfridges building in Birmingham is one of the most interesting pieces of architecture in the world. Opened in 1976, the unusually shaped building is part of the Bullring Shopping Centre and was designed by Future systems and architects in Birmingham. What makes it so unique is the 15,000 or so aluminium metal discs mounted on a subtle blue background. This amazing look has won plenty of accolades and awards for it’s design.
The Sydney Opera House, formed of interlocking shells, is a beautiful architectural accomplishment located on the eastern shore of Australia. Since it’s opening in 1973, it has held numerous artistic performances, including The Australian Ballet, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia. The shells are formed of ceramic tile and moulded concrete ribs and were designed by the Danish architect Utzon.
From Rome to New York City and from north to south, cities around the world display stunning architectural masterpieces. These four examples are among the most recognizable buildings in their respective cities, often forming the skyline and being seen from miles around. Whether one lives in or near one of these cities or is looking for a great place to visit on an upcoming vacation, each of these options is open to the public.