The huge growth in air travel has opened up the world to tourists who want to see its many treasures. Leading cities often have 21st Century architecture alongside gems that have been built before those cities developed to their current sizes.
You do not have to be a history specialist to enjoy such landmarks and here are a few examples of places you will enjoy as many have over the years.
Table of Contents
- 1. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain
- 2. The Eiffel Tower, Paris
- 3. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
- 4. Selimiye Mosque, Erdine, Turkey
- 5. The Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary
- 6. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
- 7. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
- 8. Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia
- 9. Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
- 10. Kotor Old Town, Montenegro
- 11. The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
- 12. Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain
The famous architect Antoni Gaudi died in 1926, 43 years after his Roman Catholic masterpiece was begun. It is hoped that the 170-meter high cathedral will finally be finished on the centenary of his death in 2026.
While it is yet to be a place of worship, it is almost the first landmark that tourists to Barcelona seek out after they arrive.
2. The Eiffel Tower, Paris
Anyone seeing a promotional image of Paris is likely to set their eyes on the Eiffel Tower which was built on the banks of the Seine towards the end of the 19th Century.
It is named after the engineer, Gustave Eiffel whose company built it. Originally, it was simply meant to be the entrance to the World Fair in 1889, the centenary of the French Revolution, but it has far surpassed that simple intention.
3. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
This Renaissance-style Cathedral was finished in the 17th Century on a site believed to be where St. Peter was buried. It replaced the Old Basilica built in the 4th Century and took 120 years to complete.
Visitors stand in awe in the Square where Popes address the crowd while the nearby Sistine Chapel makes a visit to the Vatican in Rome a memorable experience.
4. Selimiye Mosque, Erdine, Turkey
While Istanbul receives most of the attention of visitors to Turkey, this stunning mosque on the European side close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria eclipses even those on the Bosphorus.
Edirne was the capital of the Ottoman Empire before the capture of Constantinople. The Mosque was built in the 15th Century on an elevated position in the City and its 70-meter minarets and 999 windows help make it a true masterpiece.
5. The Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary
Located on the Pest bank of the River Danube, this magnificent building took almost 20 years to complete, opening in 1902.
It is almost 100 meters high and 300 meters long with 691 rooms, 10 courtyards, and 20 kilometers of stairs. While the design was inspired by the UK Parliament, Hungary’s Parliament has rightly found a place for itself among the treasures.
6. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
When Peter the Great sought an outlet to the Baltic, he decided on what is now St. Petersburg and switched the Russian Capital from Moscow in 1712.
Among the many landmarks in the City, the world-famous Hermitage Museum which was the vision of Catherine the Great has innumerable art and cultural exhibits.
7. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Shah Jahan’s tribute to his much-loved wife, Mumtaz has attracted huge crowds ever since. This white marble landmark with encrusted jewels took 22 years to complete. If you drew a line through the center of the Taj Mahal, you would see that the two halves are identical. There are few buildings in the world that are even more impressive than any professional photographer you have seen, but this is one.
8. Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia
The walls of this medieval city were begun in the 11th Century and finished in the 17th. Famous at a prominent location of the blockbusting ‘’Game of Thrones’’ new developments are forbidden within the Walls and those who climb up and walk right round can both look down on the Town’s red roofs, churches, monasteries, and squares and out into the Adriatic.
9. Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Venetian history talks of times when it was a powerful city-state with influence throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
Its past wealth is clear to visitors who arrive down one of the many canals, often by gondola, to reach this Square and the impressive St. Mark’s Basilica, formerly the Doge’s chapel but the City’s cathedral since 1807.
10. Kotor Old Town, Montenegro
If Dubrovnik has a challenger as the best-preserved medieval town on the Adriatic, it is Kotor just to its south in a secluded bay. There was settlement here in two millennia ago yet this town dates back to the 16th and 17th Centuries.
No new developments are permitted, and the narrow cobbled streets lead the visitor to another gem around every corner including several churches. Those with the energy can climb 1300 stairs from the center of the Old Town to the hill on high to look down on this lovely old town.
11. The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem is sacred to three religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism and the stunning golden dome of this Islamic shrine on Temple Mount can be seen from afar.
It is located in the Old City and was built at the end of the 7th Century. Muhammed was said to have ascended to heaven from here and centuries before it was the site where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac.
12. Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This 700-meter granite rock is home to ‘’Christ the Redeemer’’ which looks down on Rio’s wonderful beaches.
The statue in white soapstone and concrete is 30 meters high on an 8-meter black pedestal and shows Jesus with his arms outstretched. It was constructed between 1926 and 1931, sculptured by Frenchman, Paul Landowski.
The world is full of treasures from every century and in every continent. Talented designers, engineers, and architects have created many wonders with Europe the home of many.
Pick your capital city and there are certain to be significant landmarks. This is just a small selection to get you thinking about travel and sites that you can visit.