It used to be that history impacted the modern eye through beautiful ancient structures that stand tall and were considered the most picturesque. Now, travelers experience a glimpse of historical and modern buildings while meandering urban streets. Modern-day architecture is giving history a run for its money, as these contemporary million dollar structures stun the eye. Whether old or new, these are the most beautiful buildings in the world.
The Institute for Sound and Vision | Hilversum, Netherlands
This building is more than a visual pleasure, it is an awe-inspiring conglomerate of colors that lights up the night sky. The four-sided mural is Dutch television images baked into cast glass. From the inside out, this structure attracts starring eyes.
The Taj Mahal | Agra, India
No list is complete without the Taj Mahal. The white-marble mausoleum looks like a painting in real-life. Constructed between 1631 through 1648, the Taj is the jewel of Muslim art in India and universally admired architect lovers. One must see to believe and appreciate the tiny details, calligraphy, marble design and motifs.
The Guggenheim | Bilbao, Spain
The famous, Frank Gehry, designed this titanium-clad, modern-day masterpiece. Simple yet complex, shiny but dull, visitors spend countless minutes studying and imagining this world-renowned architect’s vision. The Guggenheim’s construction was a giant leap forward for modern structures.
Paro Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) | Bhutan
Launched some 2,600 feet in the air along side protruding rocks is this one-of-a-kind monastery. Dating from 1692, was built around a cave, and is the sacred place where Indian Guru Rinpoche sat and meditated in silence throughout the 8th Century. Rinpoche reached this land via the back of a flying tiger. Modern day tourists get the luxury of a several hour hike up the mountain.
Catherine Palace | Russia
The over-the-top 8th Century palace is decorated with hues of white, blue and gold. Manicured lawns enhance the visual effects with not one blade of grass out of alignment. The structure is named after Catherine 1, wife of Peter the Great. Many visitors come to experience the Amber Room where a contemporary replication has been made due to Nazis carting away most of the goods.
30 St Mary Axe (London Bullet Building) | London, England
The sustainable, reflective bullet skyrockets over other London buildings. The building is viewable up to 32 kilometers away from the city. Famous architect, Norman Foster, created the building to allow the glass façade to ensure maximum exploration of natural sunlight to decrease artificial light use. Symbolic and beautiful, this building is a must-see from the inside and out.
Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) | Amritsar, India
This “Temple of God,” was destroyed and reconstructed several times prior to the final 1700’s version. The Golden Temple is a fusion between Hindu and Muslim architecture and reflections glisten into the surrounding waters. This is the most sacred Sikh shrine, and even the Buddha came here to meditate.
Elizabeth is a fitness professional, workshop presenter and freelance writer. She is an active traveler who treks the globe looking for interesting stories to write and places to photograph. Her most significant travel achievements include living and volunteering in Australia twice and studied yoga in India.