One of the greatest joys of travelling is exploring the local culture which is reflected in the food, textiles, dialects, and of course, the architecture. Every building has its unique flair and either serves to teach us about the past or opens new perspectives by showing us something completely new. There are so many incredible buildings that you might have never seen before or still want to see in real life.
Wonder what the most impressive architectural gems around the world are? Then check below our top 5!
1. Lotus Temple — New Delhi, India
The Lotus Temple in India, New Delhi was one out of only seven Mashriq in the world in the early 21st century. The temple designed by the Iranian architect Fariborz Shaba was first opened to the public in December 1986. The Lotus Temple owns its name to its design and like every other Bahāʾī Mashriq, it is characterized by a nine-sided construction, in keeping with the Bahāʾī belief in the mystical properties of the number nine. Looks impressive right? Just imagine how amazing it looks like from the inside - visit New Delhi and find out yourself!
2. St. Basil’s Cathedral — Moscow, Russia
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow located on Red Square is an unmissable landmark when visiting the Russian capital. It’s an orthodox church which constitutes the icon or symbol of the city and one of the most important monuments of ancient Russian architecture of the 16th century. It remains one of the most recognizable buildings in Russia and I bet you’ve seen it on pictures before, but trust me it will impress you, even more, when seeing it in real life. The St. Basil’s Cathedral was ordered by Tsar Ivan the Terrible, to celebrate the conquest of the Khanate of Kazan. The cathedral has nine main chapels, each of which was consecrated in honour of an event or battle in the battle against Kazan.
3. Sagrada Familía — Barcelona, Spain
The city’s cosmopolitan and international vibe makes it a favourite city for many people also known for its art and architecture. When coming to Barcelona, make sure to visit the stunning Basílica I Temple Expiatori de Sagrada Família. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1882 and at that time no one thought that it would take over a century to build this church. Gaudi worked on his masterpiece until he died in 1926. Later several architects attempted to continue his legacy. If you want to see it from the inside, make sure to buy tickets in advance to avoid waiting in a queue.
4. Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain
The port city Bilbao has a lot to offer; a great dining scene, stunning architecture and beautiful landscapes outside the city centre. The northern city is famed for the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. It represents a great example of the most groundbreaking architecture of the 20th-century and should be on the top of your list when coming to Bilbao. With its innovative design, it represents an architectural landmark providing a backdrop for the art exhibited in it. The space in the building is mainly used for exhibitions and therefore also worth a visit from the inside. Besides the one in Bilbao, there are also Guggenheim museums in Venice, Abu Dhabi and New York.
5. Forbidden City — Beijing, China
The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. It took 14 years (from 1406 to 1420) and over 1,000,000 workers, to build the 980 buildings consisting of more than 8,700 rooms. The name of the palace originates from the fact that citizens were not allowed to enter the city without permission and only imperial families and invited high officials had the permission to enter it. The Forbidden City was the former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty until the end of the Qing Dynasty and includes the Palace Museum. It is also the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and China's best-preserved imperial palace. You will be impressed by its design and size!
Tip: If you want to visit this impressive palace, make sure to book tickets in advance.