There are so many historically and architecturally beautiful buildings that are worth seeing at least once before you leave this earth. Most of these are castles from the days of yore, when palaces were constructed as fortified fortresses, when money was no object, when prime lands were still aplenty and when royalty demanded the best in living quarters, often employing world-renowned architects, engineers, designers and craftsmen to create large-scale architectural wonders. In present times, such architectural wonders are products of a formidable combination of engineering, technology and design aesthetics.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul
The 17th century mosque is also called Blue Mosque. It is a combination of traditional Islamic and Byzantine architecture. Its interior’s lower levels are lined with 20,000 ceramic tiles handmade in Iznik. More than 200 stained glass windows are featured on the upper levels.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The 12th century temple is representative of the classic Khmer temple architecture: a temple mountain to symbolize mythic Mount Meru and a series of open galleries, which was typical of Dravidian architecture.
Looking like a minor church or a royal villa, Széchenyi is actually Europe’s largest medicinal bath, located at the City Park in Budapest. Ideas for the design were started by Győző Czigler and concretized by Eugene Schmitterer, in neo-Baroque style. It was constructed in 1909.
Alhambra, Granada, Andalusia
Istana Nurul Iman Palace, Brunei
This is the official residence of the King of Brunei. It is not open to the public except on special occasions. The palace was designed by Leandro Locsin, a celebrated Filipino architect who combined Malay and Islamic influences. Its domes are covered in real gold.
Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy
Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain
It is the official residence of the Spanish monarch but today is used only for state functions. It was built in 1738. Its initial design followed a Berniniesque style of Baroque architecture and since then had several style renovations.
Stockholm Palace, Sweden
Forbidden City, Beijing
This imperial palace was built in early 15th century and exemplified the traditional palace architecture in ancient China. It was the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The south gate opens to Tiananmen Square, the country’s ceremonial center.
Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia
Papal Palace, Vatican City
Potala Palace, Tibet
It was once the seat of the Dalai Lama. It was built on a mountaintop with sloping walls of stone that are 5 meters thick at the base and about 3 meters thick on top. Molten copper was poured into its foundations to make the palace earthquake-proof.
Palace of Versailles, France
Hadrian’s Tomb, Rome
The tall cylindrical building, once the tallest in Rome was dedicated to Emperor Hadrian. Formerly a mausoleum, it later became a papal residence, a fortress, a castle, a prison before it became a museum.
Catherine Palace, Leningrad Oblast
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Sanssouci, Potsdam, Berlin
Westminster Abbey, London
St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
Château de Chambord, France
The architecture is 16th century French Renaissance. The square shaped château has 11 types of towers and three styles of chimneys. A double helix open staircase provides the spectacular centerpiece for this building.
Hearst Castle, California
The Hearst Castle, previously owned by William Randolph Hearst was designed by Julia Morgan and built in 1919. Highlight is the façade of an old Roman temple that was imported and installed at its Neptune outdoor pool.
Himeji Castle, Hyōgo, Japan
Shwedagon Paya, Burma
This is a prominent symbol of Burma and Yangon. Also called the Golden Pagoda, it is a bell-shaped, gold leaf-gilded stupa with four Buddhas. It’s believed to be constructed between the 6th and 10th centuries.
Peleş Castle, Romania
Prague Castle, Prague
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
It is representative of the modern expressionist style, with its precast concrete sections that resemble shells. It is covered in special tiles made in Sweden. Its exterior is covered with local pink granite.
Built in 447 BC, the Parthenon is an example of classic Greek architecture. It is one of the most important surviving buildings of this era. A full-scale replica is located in Nashville in the United States.
Burj al-Arab, Dubai
One of the most modern in structure and design, the Burj al-Arab ranks as the 4th tallest hotel building in the world. Its shape is said to resemble the sail of an Arabian dhow. It stands on an artificial island.[divider style=”dotted” height=”40px” ]