Humans are capable of doing some amazing things. Over the course of the entire history of mankind, we have achieved some remarkable feats, few of which are permanently established as an emblem of greatness in the form of famous buildings.
One of the best examples of our achievements as a race are the buildings and structures that have been built by us. Some of these can be so stunning and mind-blowing that it almost becomes hard for us to believe that they have been constructed by us, the stand of time remembers as famous buildings, well know to the mass audiences but it goes without saying that there are thousands of less known masterpieces in our grasp.
This article will talk about 33 of the most famous buildings across the globe that you must see in your lifetime.
1. Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple has become one of the most visited buildings in the world since its completion in 1986, a famous building from the very beginning. Located in New Delhi, the capital city of India, this marvelous structure attracts an average of 10,000 visitors daily. Also known as the Bahai House of Worship, the entire building consists of 27 structures that resemble petals of a Lotus flower and opens up to a central hall that is 40m high and can accommodate around 2500 people.
2. Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
The Dome of the Rock located in Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. It was built by Caliph Abd Al-Malik between the years 687 to 691 and has since then become one of the defining structures in this historic city. The building has an Octagonal plan and a rotunda dome made of wood which is all inspired by Byzantine design. Suleiman later added some colorful Persian tiles and marble slabs in the year 1561.
3. Cologne Cathedral
The Cologne Cathedral is renowned as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is also home to numerous works of art and the tombs of 12 archbishops. The Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s most visited landmark and attracts thousands of visitors yearly. It is a High Gothic five-aisled basilica whose construction was started in the year 1248 only to be stopped midway in 1473. Its construction was further resumed in the 1800s and was finally completed in the year 1880. The famous building was heavily affected by the world wars and has been through extensive restoration processes.
4. Casa Milà, La Pedrera, Barcelona
The La Pedrera located in the bustling Spanish city of Barcelona is considered to be one of the most imaginative houses in the history of architecture. Designed by the infamous architect Antoni Gaudí, this building looks pretty unusual but beautiful and is more of a sculpture than it is a building. The façade is a harmonious and varied block of undulating stone that, combined with the balconies made of forged iron, signifies the irregularities of the natural world. This building was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1984, it is also commonly known as Casa Milà.
5. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
St. Paul’s Cathedral located in London is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and was designed by the English Architect Sir Christopher Wren. After taking nearly ten years to finalize the design of the cathedral, the actual construction finally started in the year 1668 and was finished nearly 40 years later. The St. Paul’s Cathedral has ever since played a domineering part of London’s skyline and also served as a center for tourism and religious worship.
6. One World Trade Centre, New York
The One World Trade Center is one of the latest additions to the skyline of New York and is also one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Its construction was started in April 2006 and was finished by the end of 2013 making it the fourth tallest skyscraper in the world. This building is situated right beside the city’s beautiful 9/11 memorial and is a shining beacon for the city of New York.
7. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Towers are an iconic landmark in the capital city of Malaysia. At 170 meters above the ground, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur once held the title of the tallest building in the world between the years 1998-2004. Cesar Pelli and Achmad Murdijat were the architect duo responsible for the distinct ultramodern style of the towers.
8. Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is considered to be one of the most remarkable architectural structures in the whole world. Taking over 300 years for its construction to be complete, this building became a worldwide sensation for its tilt. The tilt came about when the soft ground beneath the tower became unstable due to the sheer weight of the building.
The design of the building was initially attributed to the artist Bonnano Pisano, but later studies also implicated the famous architect Diotisalvi.
9. The White House, Washington DC
The White House located in Washington, United States is one of the most iconic and widely recognized buildings in the world. This mansion has housed every US President since the country’s second president John Adams. Made from white-painted Aquia sandstone, the construction of the White House was completed by the year 1801.
The famous Irish architect James Hoban was the man who is attributed with designing the building.
10. The Shard, London
Sitting at the heart of London, the Shard is an 87-storey skyscraper popularly referred to as the Shard of Glass. The construction of this iconic London skyscraper began in 2009 and was completed three years later in 2012. The building was designed by the architect Renzo Piano and is the tallest building in Western Europe. Its exterior has 11,000 glass panels which have an area equivalent to eight football pitches.
11. The Kabba, Mecca
The Kabba, which means a ‘Cube’ in Arabis, is the most sacred space in Islam. It is a square building located in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, elegantly draped in a veil made of cotton and silk. Millions of Muslims from all over the world travel to the Kabba for ‘Hajj’ which is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
12. St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow
St. Basil Cathedral is located in Red Square, Moscow, and is considered a masterpiece in the field of architecture. The unique design of the cathedral which looks like a piece straight out of a Disney movie was developed by PostnikYakolev and was built between the years 1554 and 1560. This famous cathedral was shaped to resemble the flame of a bonfire rising into the sky.
The St. Basil Cathedral, situated just outside the Kremlin, is the most visited landmark in Moscow.
13. Lloyds Building, London
The Lloyds Building located in London is an award-winning building designed by the Italian architect Richard Rogers. The futuristic looks of the structure that look like something out of a sci-fi movie have made the building an iconic structure all over the world. The Lloyds Building was constructed between the years 1978 and 1986 and features 12 exterior lifts.
14. Empire State Building, New York
A list of the most famous buildings in the world is incomplete without one of the most remarkable and iconic structures of New York, the Empire State Building. The construction of the Empire State Building started on St. Patrick’s Day 1930 and was completed 410 days later.
Once the tallest building in the world, this building was declared as one of the seven modern-day wonders of the world by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
15. Colosseum, Rome
The Colosseum located in the heart of Rome is considered to be one of the greatest architectural feats of the ancient world. This elliptical structure is the largest amphitheater built by the Ancient Romans. The stadium had a total capacity of around 50,000 spectators and was mostly used to host gladiatorial games.
The Colosseum was built with stone and concrete between the years 72AD and 80AD and has since served as an inspiration for numerous stadiums around the world.
16. Chrysler Building, NYC
Back in the early 20th century, everyone was in a rush to erect the tallest building in the world and exactly during this time the Chrysler Building was constructed in NYC which held the title of the tallest building for just one year. The Bank of Manhattan almost beat this building regarding height but could not make it thanks to the impressive spire of the Chrysler Building.
The building was designed by the celebrated architect William Van Alen and sanctioned by Walter P Chrysler.
17. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic buildings in the world and is also one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Considered to be the ‘Jewel of Muslim Art in India,’ the Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between the years 1632 and 1648. This marvelous structure is actually a Tomb for the Emperor’s wife who died while giving birth.
18. Sydney Opera House
Widely regarded as one of the greatest architectural works of the 20th Century, the Sydney Opera House is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. The unique design of the building came from the architect JornUtzon, who later went on to become one of the most famous architects in the world. The Sydney Opera House consists of three groups of interlocking ‘shells’ that roof a restaurant and two main performance halls.
19. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
The Hagia Sophia, originally built as a church, later went on to become a mosque and now a museum. Located in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia is an architectural masterpiece and a perfect representation of Byzantine architecture. This building was constructed at first by the emperor Constantine the Great between the years 306-337.
However, due to several factors such as being burned down in riots and earthquakes, it had to be rebuilt numerous times since its initial construction.
20. Space Needle, Seattle
The Space Needle located in Seattle was initially built for the 1962 World’s Fair. More than 40 years after its construction, the futuristic Space Needle remains the most visited landmark in Seattle. Standing 184m high and 42m wide at its widest point, this building is indeed a pinnacle of modern architecture.
Edward E Carlson prepared the design of the Space Needle along with his fellow architect John Graham. The structure has been designed to withstand 9.1 magnitude earthquakes and wind speeds of up to 200mph.
21. Buckingham Palace, London
The Buckingham Palace was originally known as the Buckingham House until George III bought the property when it consisted only of a small red brick house. Since then, some of the best architects in the world such as John Nash and Edmund Blore have worked on the mansion to make it what it is today. It is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions today and is one of the few royal palaces in existence.
22. Pantheon, Rome
Rome boasts of a few of the best ancient architectural marvels in the world, one of which is the Pantheon. Built around 2,000 years ago, this amazing structure continues to inspire architects to this day. The roof of the Pantheon remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome. A lot of debate exists among historians regarding the emperor and architects who were responsible for the construction of this magnificent structure.
However it is known that the ‘Temple of the Gods’ was built around 126AD.
Fallingwater was designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934, and this building is actually a private residence belonging to the Kauffman family. The unique design of this building makes it look like it stretches over a 30ft waterfall without having any solid ground underneath the structure. This innovative and unique design caught everyone’s eyes when the final design elements were placed, and Fallingwater became a worldwide sensation.
24. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum located in Bilbao is one of the most admired pieces of modern architecture. The design and the concept of the museum were developed by the California-based architect Frank Gehry after he won a competition to design this building. Ever since its opening in the year 1997, the Guggenheim Museum has been regarded as one of the most important buildings of this century and has welcomed millions of visitors.
25. Villa Savoye, France
Villa Savoye is a classic example of the international style of architecture which emerged in the early 1920s. The Swiss architects Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret were responsible for the design of this magnificent building. It was originally built as a country retreat in 1928 for the Savoye family but was later designated as a historical monument in 1965.
26. Flatiron Building, New York
The Chicago-based architect Daniel Burnham built the eye-catching Flatiron Building in Manhattan, New York in the year 1902. The unique triangular shape of the Flatiron building allowed it to fit perfectly in the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Though it was not among the tallest buildings in the city, it has always held a prominent and respected position in the city’s skyline.
27. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Standing over 800 meters high, the Burj Khalifa currently holds the title of the tallest building in the world. This enormous skyscraper is the centerpiece of Dubai’s skyline and is exactly 828.9 meters tall. Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in the year 2004 and was completed six years later in 2010. This 160-floor was built by the American architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merril LLP.
28. Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin
The Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin was inaugurated in the year 1882 to establish an art gallery in Milwaukee. Today, it is one of the most visited landmarks of Wisconsin and has well over 400,000 visitors. The main building structure comprises three buildings – the War Memorial Centre, the Quadracci Pavilion, and the Cudahy Gardens.
29. The Statue of Liberty, New York
Located on Liberty Island, New York, the Statue of Liberty is a huge sculpture that was originally a gift to the United States of America from the people of France. This monument was gifted by the French in recognition of the French-American Alliance during the American Revolution. This statue was designed by the French sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and finished in July 1884.
This statue continues to be one of the most iconic structures in New York City.
30. Blue Domed Church in Santorini, Greece
The Blue Domed Church located in the small town of Oia in Santorini is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Greece. This Church is built on the steep slope of the caldera with the restaurants and houses integrated into niches, carved into the Caldera facing the Sea. The Church also has a Central Square and narrow passages leading out of the church.
31. The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Giza are one of the seven ancient wonders of the world and also a defining symbol of Egypt. The Pyramids of Giza were built on the Giza plateau located close to the modern city of Cairo. Built over 3000 years ago, the Great Pyramids of Giza held the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world until the Eiffel Towers were built in Paris.
This is one landmark that you should visit once in your lifetime.
32. The Big Ben, London
The Big Ben is one of the most defining landmarks of London, and you must never leave London without visiting it. The Big Ben is actually the iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell that exists inside the clock tower that weighs nearly 13 tons. The true beauty of Big Ben is unleashed at night when all the four faces of the clock are illuminated.
33. The Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai
The distinctive shell-shaped structure of the Burj Al Arab Hotel located in Dubai is more than just a hotel; it is a defining symbol of the amazing city of Dubai. The Burj Al Arab Hotel has been voted the most luxurious hotel in the world numerous times as it offers you the finest services and experiences that you can ever get from a hotel.
It is also one of the most popular tourist attractions of Dubai and soars to a height of 321 meters above sea level, last but certainly not least in our famous buildings guide.
Our beautiful Earth shelters more, so many more epic buildings worth mentioning yet these 33 mark history more than others, they are just a bit more famous, famous buildings are everywhere though, in each town, no matter how small.
It is also worth mentioning that the order in this list is not hierarchic, one simply could not compare famous buildings.
We invite you to mention your favorite building on the planet in the comment section below!