Amazing Architecture: The World’s Most Magnificent Buildings

Those who appreciate art, history, and architecture have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to visiting some breathtaking buildings around the world. From Greek and Roman ruins to modern design breakthroughs, there is a plethora of landmarks that are sure to astonish and amaze. From a lotus-shaped temple to an inside-out building to a cathedral that’s been under construction for centuries, these buildings illustrate the limitless opportunities within the field of architecture. Read on for some of the most magnificent structures humankind has achieved.

The Acropolis In Athens Is More Than 2,000 Years Old!

Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Acropolis in Athens consists of famous Greek ruins stretched over four hills that overlook the Attica peninsula. One of its remarkable features is the Parthenon, pictured here. The ancient buildings are made of enduring limestone rock and are a marvel to explore.

This Acropolis is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world, attracting tourists from far and wide. Once home to kings and a religious center, the spot is well worth visiting to get in touch with ancient history.

Hagia Sophia Has Served Many Purposes Over The Years

Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images
Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hagia Sophia is a stunning building in Istanbul, Turkey that has had various purposes over the years. When it was built in the year 537, it was a patriarchal cathedral. Seven hundred years later, it became a Roman Catholic cathedral.

After the fall of Constantinople, it was converted into a Muslim mosque. In 1935, the Turkish Republic established it as a museum, but in 2020 it was re-established as a mosque. One thing that has remained consistent throughout its history is the building’s incredible architecture and breathtaking interior.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum Overlooks The Atlantic

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MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images

The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum is a remarkable landmark situated on the coast of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Completed in 1996, the building has a flying saucer shape that is a whopping 50 meters in diameter.

The museum features three floors full of more than 1,200 works brought in by art collector João Sattamini, making it the second-largest contemporary collection in Brazil. The beautiful works inside are embellished by the gorgeous view of islands in the near distance.

The Forbidden City Was Home To Chinese Emperors

Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

For half a millennium, the Forbidden City served as the political center of the Chinese government and the home of Chinese emperors. Almost a thousand buildings make up the massive complex, which stretches over 180 acres! Construction required over a million workers and 14 years to accomplish.

Today, it is the most extensive collection of ancient wooden structures in the world, showcasing traditional Chinese architecture. The palace now serves as a jaw-dropping museum with an average of 14 million visitors per year.

The Giza Pyramid Complex Has Egypt’s Largest Pyramids

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JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

The Giza Pyramid Complex in Greater Cairo features the largest ancient pyramids in Egypt: the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Pyramid of Khafre. The complex also includes the Pyramid of Menkaure and the Great Sphinx of Giza.

The Great Sphinx, pictured above, is a statue of the mythical creature, which has the body of a lion and the head of a human. Situated five miles west of the Nile River at the edge of the Western Desert, the magnificent buildings are worth a visit.

The Lotus Temple Features 27 Marble-Covered Petals

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Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Lotus Temple is a gorgeous building in Delhi, India that, true to its name, looks like a lotus flower. The house of worship attracts people of all backgrounds and religions and consists of 27 marble-covered petals.

The petals form nine sides, each with its own door that leads to a central hall. The building has a 230-foot diameter, stands at just over 112 feet, and has a capacity of 2,500 people. Built in 1986, the beautiful structure has won several awards and has become a major city attraction.

Sagrada Família Has Been Under Construction Since 1882!

Prisma by Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Prisma by Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Given the gorgeous appearance of the Sagrada Família, it feels discrediting to call it incomplete. Indeed, the Barcelona masterpiece has remained under construction since 1882 due to numerous historical setbacks, including the Spanish Civil War.

Through it all, the Gothic and Art Nouveau style of the remarkable building has attracted tourists from around the world. As a Roman Catholic minor basilica, the property is recognized not only for its beauty but also for its cultural significance. Though the building is already open to the public, its completion date is set for 2026.

Sydney Opera House Has Over 1,500 Annual Performances

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James D. Morgan/Getty Images
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous achievements in 20th-century architecture. Construction began in 1959, and the extraordinary building opened in 1973. Over a million people attend more than 1,500 performances at the opera house each year.

Additionally, millions more visit the magnificent attraction just to see it each year. One of the most impressive features of the building is the shell-like construction that makes up the roof. The “shells” also act as projectors.

Angkor Wat Is The World’s Largest Religious Monument

TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP via Getty Images
TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP via Getty Images

Angkor Wat is a temple in Cambodia that stretches over 402 acres of land, making it the largest religious monument in the world. It was built in the first half of the 12th century as a Hindu temple but evolved into a Buddhist temple over the following decades.

A quincunx of towers stands at the center of the temple, which is surrounded by a 2.2-mile long wall and a three-mile-long moat. Tourists travel to the remarkable site to view its extraordinary design.

The Musée du Louvre Features An Underground Entrance

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Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

One of the signature aspects of the famous Musée du Louvre in Paris is its unique entrance, marked by the Pyramide du Louvre. Visitors enter through the glass pyramid and proceed to an underground lobby.

From there, they reascend into the largest art museum in the world. Architects added the modern entrance in 1989 due to the enormous number of visitors that the original entrance could no longer support. Today, the glass feature is a hallmark of the marvelous museum.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel Is A Tidal Island

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Jeff Morgan/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Jeff Morgan/PhotoPlus Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a beautiful tidal island, meaning it’s exposed at low tide and emerges at high tide. Though the plot of land looks tiny from far away, it spans almost 1,000 acres and features more than 60 historic monuments.

Located off Normandy, France, the island has a population of only 50 residents. However, more than 3 million tourists visit the commune each year. The piece of land is full of charm, especially if you know its history.

Taj Mahal Was Commissioned By A Mughal Emperor

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Located on the bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, India, the Taj Mahal is mausoleum famously built by emperor Shah Jahan. Its construction was in honor of the emperor’s third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who is buried in the ivory-white building, as is Shah.

UNESCO deemed the iconic building “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” Millions visit the landmark each year as it is considered the best example of Mughal architecture.

Potala Palace Was The Winter Palace Of The Dalai Lamas

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Yin Shichang/Visual China Group via Getty Images
Yin Shichang/Visual China Group via Getty Images

Potala Palace is a jaw-dropping building in Tibet, recognized for its Dzong architecture and for being the Dalai Lamas’ winter palace for more than 300 years. Set against a snow-covered mountain range, the palace sits atop a hill and features stone walls and copper, earthquake-proof foundations.

The landmark’s name is derived from a mythical Buddhist dwelling, Mount Potalaka. Established in 1649, the building has been a museum since 1959 and became a World Heritage Site in 1994.

St. Basil’s Cathedral Originally Contained Nine Churches

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Getty Images

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia is easy to identify due to its vibrant colors and unique shape. It was built from 1555 to 1561 in honor of the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. Originally, the building housed nine churches and was known as Trinity Church.

The building symbolized the rise of Russian architecture that came to prominence the century after it was built. In 1928, it became a museum and was later secularized, making it a popular destination for people of all religious affiliations.

Le Centre Pompidou Is An “Inside-Out” Building

Christian SAPPA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Christian SAPPA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

At first glance, Le Centre Pompidou may look like it’s still under construction. This is due to its unique inside-out construction, which was the first in architectural history. Designers decided to keep the buildings’ systems exposed, which was not immediately well-received upon completion in 1977.

Critics warmed up to the unorthodox design, deeming it “revolutionary” in the coming decades. But tourists don’t just come to look at the exterior. Inside are a variety of multicultural exhibits that people travel from all over the world to see.

The Dome Of The Rock Has Religious Significance

Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is an Islamic shrine that dates back to the 7th century, though the gold-plated roof wasn’t added until 1959. Byzantine churches influenced the mosaic design spread across the walls of the beautiful building.

At the landmark’s center is the Foundation Rock, where followers of Abrahamic religions believe God created the first human. The building’s interior also contains some of the earliest inscriptions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, making it a significant historic monument.

The Colosseum Held Up To 80,000 Visitors

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ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

Built between the years 70 and 80 AD, the Colosseum was the largest ampitheatre of its time. Experts estimate it held between 50,000 and 80,000 visitors at certain points in history.

Located in Rome, the building was used for various public spectacles, such as gladiator contests and battle re-enactments. Its purpose changed in the medieval era, when it became a fortress and a Christian shrine. Despite extensive damage due to earthquakes and stone robbers, the Colosseum is still a popular site for history and architecture lovers alike.

The Sistine Chapel Is Covered In Remarkable Art

Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Sistine Chapel in Rome’s Vatican City is widely regarded for its incredible artwork, which covers the walls and the ceiling. Today, it is the location where the new pope is selected.

One of the most famous works of art featured in the Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement. The building was officially consecrated in 1483, and it has drawn millions of visitors in the hundreds of years since, for religious, historical, and artistic purposes.

The Eiffel Tower Is More Than 1,000 Feet Tall!

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Getty Images

The Eiffel Tower originally stood at 984 feet and was the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building in New York beat it out at 1,046 feet. In 1957, the addition of an antenna brought the landmark’s height to a staggering 1,063 feet, which is the equivalent of an 81-story skyscraper.

Tourists can head into the tower to visit the restaurants at the first and second levels. The third and more exclusive level is typically only accessed through a lift and sits more than 900 feet above the ground.

The Gateway Arch Is A Monument To Western U.S. Expansion

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Getty Images

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is so much more than just the world’s largest arch. As the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, it represents westward expansion in the United States.

Covered in stainless steel, the monument took two and a half years to build and was completed in 1965. The jaw-dropping arch is seen as a symbol of Missouri, though it was officially dedicated to the American people. It has won numerous awards.