Architecture has always been a form of art perfected by few, yet appreciated by many. Building and designing a structure requires more than just imagination, but also ingenuity and craftsmanship. What are the most beautiful buildings on Earth? From the temples of Ankgor Wat to the grandeur of the Burg Khalifa in Dubai and the beauty of the Taj Mahal, there are dozens- if not hundreds- of amazing buildings to visit in the world and the list of the top buildings to see in the world has most of them.
1. St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow
St. Basil’s 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. Part of its distinctive appearance can be attributed to the colorful domes and vivid redbrick towers. The domes belong to nine different chapels within the cathedral, and each dome is a symbol for the assault on the city of Kazan. The design of the cathedral draws from architectural designs found in Jerusalem, and holds strong religious meanings. The interior of the St Basil’s Cathedral greatly differs compared to its exterior, comprising of modest decorations and narrow corridors.
The cathedral has suffered damage due to fires, looting, and other incidents on several occasions throughout its history. In one legend, the French ruler Napoleon even wanted to take St. Basil’s Cathedral back to France with him. As this was not feasible, he instead ordered his army to destroy it so that no one else could occupy it. His army had prepared for attack and lit up the gunpowder, but a mysterious rain shower prevented any explosions from occurring.
2. Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal stands on the southern bank of the Yamuna River. The mausoleum is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and remains as one of the world’s most celebrated structures and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal is considered to be the greatest architectural achievement in the whole range of Indo-Islamic architecture. Its recognised architectonic beauty has a rhythmic combination of solids and voids, concave and convex and light shadow; such as arches and domes further increases the aesthetic aspect. The colour combination of lush green scape reddish pathway and blue sky over it show cases the monument in ever changing tints and moods. The most impressive in the Taj Mahal complex next to the tomb, is the main gate which stands majestically in the centre of the southern wall of the forecourt. The gate is flanked on the north front by double arcade galleries. The garden in front of the galleries is subdivided into four quarters by two main walk-ways and each quarters in turn subdivided by the narrower cross-axial walkways, on the Timurid-Persian scheme of the walled in garden. The enclosure walls on the east and west have a pavilion at the centre.
3. Lotus Temple, New Delhi
The Lotus Temple, located in Delhi, India, is a Baháʼí House of Worship that was dedicated in December 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city. Like all Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. The structure is made up of pure white marble. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate. Around the blooming petals there are nine pools of water, which light up, in natural light. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is flood lit. The temple complex compise 27 independent marble “petals,” which are clustered into groups of three to form nine sides (through which open nine entrances into a central space) and into groups of nine to form three concentric rings. Petals in the first ring face outward, forming canopies over the nine entrances. The second ring covers the outer hall. In the innermost ring, the petals curve inward to partially enclose the central prayer hall, which accommodates about 2,500 people. The top of the structure appears open but actually contains a glass-and-steel roof that admits natural daylight. The overall effect is that of a floating lotus flower on the verge of blooming and surrounded by its leaves.
4. Buckingham Palace, London
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high.More than 50,000 people visit the Palace each year as guests to State banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and Garden Parties. Her Majesty also holds weekly audiences with the Prime Minister and receives newly-appointed foreign Ambassadors at Buckingham Palace. Receptions are held at the Palace throughout the year to recognise the work of industry, government, charities, sport, the Commonwealth and many more areas of life. The balcony of Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous in the world. The first recorded Royal balcony appearance took place in 1851, when Queen Victoria stepped onto it during celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition. Since then, Royal Balcony appearances have marked many occasions from The Queen’s annual official birthday celebrations to watch the RAF Flypast at the end of Trooping the Colour, Royal Weddings, as well as special events of national significance such as the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
5. Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku
The Heydar Aliyev Center is a 57,500 m² building complex in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles. Zaha Hadid Architects was appointed as design architects of the Heydar Aliyev Center following a competition in 2007. The Center, designed to become the primary building for the nation’s cultural programs, breaks from the rigid and often monumental Soviet architecture that is so prevalent in Baku aspiring instead to express the sensibilities of Azeri culture and the optimism of a nation that looks to the future. Elaborate formations such as undulations, bifurcations, folds, and inflections modify this plaza surface into an architectural landscape that performs a multitude of functions: welcoming, embracing, and directing visitors through different levels of the interior. With this gesture, the building blurs the conventional differentiation between architectural object and urban landscape, building envelope and urban plaza, figure and ground, interior and exterior. The Heydar Aliyev Center principally consists of two collaborating systems: a concrete structure combined with a space frame system. In order to achieve large-scale column-free spaces that allow the visitor to experience the fluidity of the interior, vertical structural elements are absorbed by the envelope and curtain wall system. The particular surface geometry fosters unconventional structural solutions, such as the introduction of curved ‘boot columns’ to achieve the inverse peel of the surface from the ground to the West of the building, and the ‘dovetail’ tapering of the cantilever beams that support the building envelope to the East of the site.
6. Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, France
The Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey is an abbey located within the city and island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, in the department of Manche. The abbey is an essential part of the structural composition of the town the feudal society constructed. Most of the time it is surrounded by vast sandbanks and becomes an island only when the tides are very high. Before the construction of the 3,000-foot causeway that connects the island to land, it was particularly difficult to reach because of quicksand and very fast-rising tides. The causeway, however, has become a barrier to the removal of material by the tides, resulting in higher sandbanks between the islet and the coast. The church is built over three crypts, the oldest dating probably from Carolingian times (8th–10th century). The exterior walls of the splendid Gothic monastery La Merveille (built by 1228) combine the powerful characteristics of a military fortress and the simplicity of a religious building. The most striking sections are the refectory, with its high, narrow windows, and the magnificent cloister, with its fine sculptures. There is a panoramic view of the bay from the medieval walls (13th–15th century) on the southern and eastern sides of the mount.