23 World’s Most Iconic Buildings You Need to See

iconic buildings

Some of the greatest construction projects in history compiled to bring to the public these iconic buildings and their significance to the world and humanity.

Possibly part of the immense pleasure of traveling is throwing yourself into the local culture. You get to experience the soul of the place, which very much reflects on the food, the language, market and certainly, the architecture. Every destination’s homegrown flair fills itself into architectural landmarks that have stood the test of time and serve to educate us of the past. There’s a saying that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, and it is.

Think about this lineup as somewhat like a travel bucket. Each of these iconic buildings is famous for many reasons—may it be for the architectural styles, for the historical importance, and a few have a healthy mix of both. A good number of them are iconic, while some are found off the beaten path, but still holds significant contribution to man.

Check out these 23 World’s Most Iconic Buildings:

  1. Hagia Sophia — Istanbul, Turkey

iconic buildings

Included amongst the world’s most distinguished monuments, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey stands for over 1480 years. Located at the heart of Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, it’s an imposing ornate cathedral where Byzantine emperors are crowned.

  1. Taj Mahal — Agra, India

iconic buildings

Built in Agra between 1631 and 1648, the colossal mausoleum of white marble was initiated by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s order in memory of his beloved wife. The Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the world’s admired masterpieces and a favorite place travelers wish to see.

  1. Dancing House — Prague, Czech Republic

iconic buildings

Located in an excellent location by the Vltava River in Prague, the Dancing House’s design was built from 1992-1996 is one of a kind, and notably striking in the city center due to its modern structural design bounded by historical architecture. It was. It features daring, curvy outlines, which prompted its architects Vlado Milunic and the American Frank Owen Gehry to first name it the “Fred and Ginger Building”, after the famous dance duo.

  1. Château de Chenonceau — Chenonceaux, France

iconic buildings

Property of the Crown and then a royal residence, Château de Chenonceau is an architectural masterpiece. Its design is truly exceptional and so its history: valued, managed and safeguarded by women, such as Diane of Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis. Recognized also as the ‘Château des Dames’, there’s a touch of femininity everywhere. The people have shielded the Château from the wrath of war and maintained the place peaceful.

  1. The Pyramids of Giza — Giza, Egypt

iconic buildings

An enormous structure built of stone bricks in a rectangular foundation and 4 slanting triangular sides meeting at an apex. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is an ancient engineering marvel and one of the most visited iconic buildings in the world, with the monument located practically perfect along with the fundamental points — north, east south, and west.

  1. Acropolis of Athens — Athens, Greece

iconic buildings

The Acropolis of Athens along with its monuments are worldwide symbols of the classic spirit and civilization that forms the most creative and architectural complex handed down by Ancient Greek to the world. The Acropolis of Athens is the most outstanding and completed structural complex of Greek antiquity that still exists in our modern times. Standing beautifully at 156 meters in height, the attraction can be found on a hill rising in the basin of Athens.

  1. The Gateway Arch — St. Louis, Missouri, USA

iconic buildings

Being the country’s tallest monument, the Gateway Arch has embraced tourists for 50 long years with its imposing, awe-inspiring form. The vision of Eero Saarinen, a renowned architect, the Gateway Arch remembers Thomas Jefferson’s dream and St. Louis’ role in the United States westward expansion. Covered in stainless steel and constructed in the shape of a weighted catenary arch, it is the tallest arch in the world, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and tallest accessible building in Missouri.

  1. The Gherkin — London, UK

iconic buildings

 

Among the oldest financial centers in the world, The Gherkin helped define an open, modern, and progressive image and has set a standard in quality architecture design for a new generation of high-rise iconic buildings in London and the world.

Well-loved by the public, its unique shape structure was completed in 2003.  Ten years later, its taper form and diagonal bracing structure have given numerous benefits such as the flow of natural ventilation in interior’s common areas which provides public comfort whilst reducing energy needs: programmatic flexibility, and sufficient protection in public space at the ground level.

Recommended to read: 20 Places To Visit In London 

  1. Notre-Dame Cathedral — Paris, France

places to visit in Paris Notre Dame Cathedral

The archetypal Gothic cathedral, which construction started in 1163 took more than 170 years to be finished. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it became more famous among the iconic buildings in the world thanks to the legendary novel of Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Up until the construction of Amiens Cathedral in the 13th century, Notre-Dame Cathedral was the largest religious building in the West. The belfry holds Emmanuel, the tenor bell, the largest bell of Notre-Dame, that weighs 13 tons. Tourists may get a glimpse of this upon entering the panoramic terrace that offers a sweeping cityscape of Paris.

Lassus and Viollet-le-Duc refurbished sections of the sculpted decorations from 1847 til 1864 and even restored areas by founding their work on antique documents and works in the Cathedrals of Reims, Chartres, and Amiens. At the time of restoration, inspiration hit Viollet-le-Duc and eventually created the 56 chimeras that embellished the tower gallery these days.

  1. Mosque of Córdoba — Córdoba, Spain

iconic buildings

Mosque Córdoba is the most significant model of Islamic architecture in the West as it puts together both the Umayyad style as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles of the Christian tradition due to its long history and evolution over time. The mosque is situated in the historical city center, close to Guadalquivir River and adjacent to the Roman bridge. It is one of the iconic buildings you must see.

The complex shares a portion of the Route of the Caliphate which links the cities of Córdoba and Granada across the province of Jaen, a connecting land that bears witness throughout years of conflict between Muslim and Christians.

  1. Westminster Abbey — London, UK

iconic buildings

The splendid Westminster Abbey can be found in the City of Westminster, London. The church of the royals, this place of worship has bore witness to many luxurious celebrations since royal weddings and coronations and have taken place here for centuries. The extravagant architecture and British history helped form the character and elements of the Abbey.

  1. Château Frontenac — Québec, Canada

iconic buildings

Bruce Price, the architect behind the amazing hotel, the Château Frontenac. This hotel attraction which opened in 1893 was among the extended series of “château” style hotels constructed for the Canadian Pacific Railway company from 19th till 20th century. The railway company hopes to push luxury tourism and take rich travelers to its trains.

Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac was the inspiration behind the name of Château Frontenac. He was governor of the colony of New France for many years. The building of The Château started at the later part of the 17th century and was built near the historical Citadelle. A symbolic landmark, the building is the most outstanding element of the city of Quebec.

  1. The Colosseum — Rome, Italy

iconic buildings

Perhaps one of the world’s most identified iconic buildings and ancient site, the Colosseum in Rome was constructed as an amphitheater and is recognized as an architectural marvel up to this day. It’s a massive structure and historians believed it has the capacity to accommodate 80,000 people. The design of the Colosseum makes it easy for the people with only take ten minutes to evacuate the amphitheater without causing a stampede.

  1. The Lotus Temple — New Delhi, India

iconic buildings

The Lotus temple is built in the form of a lotus flower and can be located in the Eastern part of Nehru place.  Furiburz Sabha, the project architect took the lotus as the representation common to Buddhism, Hinduism, Bhai Temple, Jainism, and Islam. All visitors regardless of their religion are free to visit the temple to pray or reflect.

The structure, crafted of pure white marble and the temple is set around the lush verdant garden landscapes stands as the last of 7 Major Bahai’s temples built across the globe and was completed in 1986. Surrounding the petal blooms are 9 pools of water that light up in natural light and looks more amazing at dusk.

  1. St. Basil’s Cathedral — Moscow, Russia

iconic buildings

Saint Basil’s Cathedral was first built in the middle of the 16th century and emerged magnificently close to the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. The cathedral has bear witness to numerous political and momentous events in Russia’s history. The inspiration behind the structure according to its architects are mixed of Byzantine and Asian architecture, which utilized open brickwork which was a new technology during that period.

As Russian preferences inclined to the use of vibrant colors in the 18th century, the onion-shaped domes were given garnish individual color shades.

  1. Forbidden City — Beijing, China

iconic buildings

At the center of Beijing lies the Forbidden City. It was the Chinese imperial palace from 1420 until 1912 and served as the residence of twenty-four emperors as the ceremonial and political center of the Chinese government. The complex has inspired culture and design architecture throughout East Asia and beyond. it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved wooden structures in the world.

  1. Sagrada Familía — Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia

Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família’s construction started in 1882. Over a century after, the temple is still under construction and is anticipated to be finished in 2026. It is possibly one of the most famous iconic buildings of Catalan Modernisme, attracting more than 3M tourists per year. Antoni Gaudi, the renowned architect worked on the project until 1926 when he passed away.

  1. Angkor Wat — Siem Reap, Cambodia

iconic buildings

A dramatic temple in Asia’s central Cambodia, Angkor Wat was constructed by the Khmer empire. In ancient Cambodia, elephants are the primary power to assemble great architectures which are proven at the bas-reliefs in the remaining temple ruins. For more than a millennium, these animals’ everyday life revolves around building temples. It is believed that 6,000 elephants were involved in the construction of Angkor Wat.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, many people from around the world are working to protect and preserve the monuments.

  1. Musée du Louvre — Paris, France

iconic buildings

A large glass and metal pyramid, the Louvre Museum is the largest art museum in the world. It’s a historic monument and an iconic structure of Paris, France. Designed by Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei who in 1983 has won the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture.

  1. Sydney Opera House — Sydney, Australia

2003 Pritzker Prize Laureate, Jørn Utzon is a Danish architect behind the iconic Sydney Opera House, a theater complex in Sydney, Australia. UNESCO stated that it took eight years to complete the design solution and construction of the challenging shell structure. It took more than 3 years for the development of the special ceramic tiles for the shells.

  1. Burj Khalifa — Dubai, UAE

Burj Khalifa

List of world’s most iconic buildings is incomplete without the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa became a global icon for its amazing feat of engineering. It boasts 2 observations decks – including the world’s highest observation deck (555m) on the 148th floor. For a more unforgettable experience, tourists can opt to dine in on the 122nd-floor restaurant and lounge called Atmosphere.

  1. Leaning Tower of Pisa — Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Among the popular monuments in the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was constructed in August 1173 and took more than 300 years to build. The structure began to lean in 1178 as soon as the construction on the 2nd floor had started. The leaning was because one of its sides started sinking into the soft ground.

  1. Eiffel Tower — Paris, France

places to visit in Paris

An industrial masterpiece in world’s most iconic buildings and construction history, the concept of Eiffel which is a 300-meter tower constructed almost totally of open-lattice wrought iron caused both amazement, skepticism, and no little opposition on aesthetic grounds. But when finished, the tower eventually became one of the most loved travel destination serving as the entrance gateway to the exposition.

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