The Worlds Most Beautiful Buildings
The most beautiful buildings in the world can hardly do justice to some of the most breathtaking.
1. MUSEO GUGGENHEIM SPAIN
Straight away well say that this isnt a top 10 list there are just far too many styles of buildings, each worthy of a top 50. Instead, this is a list showing the variety of architectural beauty across the globe and pointing you in the direction of some unforgettable photographic opportunities. To start, were calling out Frank Gehrys Museo Guggenheim in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. With its ribbonlike sheets of titanium and its collection of interconnecting blocks, the museum gives a nod to Bilbaos industrialism. Oh yeahnearly forgot. Theres art inside, too.
2. POTALA PALACE TIBET
Perched high above the holy city of Lhasa is the former seat of the Tibetan government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lama. More notable now for its imposing presence than its residents, this huge construction is 13 stories high, contains thousands of rooms, and is styled like a traditional Buddhist gompa (temple), if significantly more elaborate. More than 7,000 workers were said to have been involved in its construction during the 7th century AD. Potala Palace is now a state museum of China, and has been given a place on the Unesco World Heritage list.
3. BIBLIOTHECA ALEXANDRINA EGYPT
Between the ancient pyramids and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt now has the best of old and new. Like a giant discus landed at an angle or an enormous light switch, Alexandrias oceanfront library is arguably the first great design of the new millennium. Completed in 2002, its inspired by the original Alexandrina library, founded in the 3rd century BC and acclaimed as the greatest of all classical institutions. The vast rotunda space can hold eight million books.
4. SAGRADA FAMLIA SPAIN
Surely the most extraordinary church on the planet, from the mind of one of historys most eccentric designers: Antoni Gaud. With its tapering towers like the straightened arms of an octopus, construction of Sagrada Famlia began in 1882, though Gauds vision was so complex that the church is still unfinished. It will ultimately feature three fa?ades and 18 towers, the tallest of them representing Jesus Christ. Plans are to have the Barcelona icon completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gauds death.
5. TAJ MAHAL INDIA
Is this the worlds most famous building? And its most romantic (ignoring the sprawling, industrial city around it, and the hordes of rickshaw-wallahs and touts)? Described by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore as a teardrop on the face of eternity, the Taj Mahal in Agra was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. Its an extravagant, whitemarble monument to love, which may explain all the young, starry-eyed couples wandering around it.
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