A city can be shaped by a number of things but its most defining characteristic is no doubt its architecture. Whether it’s through adapting to cultural movements or thoughtful urban planning, the visual design of a city can really transport you through time.
Admiring architecture is the best way to discover the history of a city. Over time, residents, rulers, and construction styles lend their hand to creating inimitable and unique cityscape. If you are an architecture-savvy tourist, then you will definitely love these cities.
Influenced by Antoni Gaudi – the legendary Catalan architect of the 19th century – the architecture of Barcelona, much like the city itself, is colorful and imaginative. Gaudi’s Casa Batllo is one particular sight that’s a must see. The building’s façade is constructed of broken ceramic tiles, hence creating an eye-catching mosaic that is unlike anything you have ever seen. Other structures that are inspired by the vivid imagination of Gaudi include Frank Gehry’s Fish and Jean Nouvel’s Tower.
This iconic Italian city is rich in art and history. From the Middle Ages to the 19th century, the past of Florence is reflected in each and every building that lines its streets. The Renaissance influences in the city are hard to escape from. The birthplace of the late 14th century movement as well as the era’s domes and columns are most visible at the impressive Duomo, the largest cathedral in the country.
Chicago is referred to as the “City of Big Shoulders” and it’s not surprising why. It is home to some of the oldest skyscrapers, e.g. the 1891 Manhattan Building, the Reliance Building (1895), and Chicago Savings Bank Building that was completed in 1905. In 1871, most of Downtown Chicago was destroyed in the Chicago Fire, but the famous Chicago Water Tower (1869) still stands. This architectural marvel should certainly be on your bucket list.
A list of best architectural gems in the world wouldn’t be complete without the Greek capital, whose ancient citizens paved the way for the unique architectural structures that are seen all over the world today. The Greek architecture of this city has defied the ravages of time. The most common and the most well-reserved examples of its ancient constructions are its temples. Other must-see architectural symbols include the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the Theatre of Dionysus.
Dubai rose up in the middle of the desert and in just a few decades, it transformed into a mecca of excess and luxury. Apart from the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – the skyline of the city is filled with many iconic steel buildings. If you find yourself wandering in Dubai, don’t forget to check out the curving Cayan that is known for its unique 90-degrees twist, as well as the Burj al Arab, which is built to look like an Arabian dhow ship. There’s also the famous underwater zoo situated in the Dubai Mall, which features many species of aquatic life, including wide variety of sharks, sting rays, and fish.
These are some of the best cities to visit if you love architecture. If you are planning trips around your love of design and architecture, then it is highly recommended that you add some of these gems to your list.
Photos by: Josh Hild, Theodor Vasile, Mark Boss, Sawyer Bengtson, Josiah Lewis, Christoph Schulz