Forever does not exist. For humans that is. It is very well a reality for the rocks, mountains and of course, the architecture. The architecture is a snapshot of the zeitgeist at that moment in time. It tells us all that has led the human civilisation upto that point in that specific corner of the world.
Appreciating the moments and the abundance of each one of them does not come naturally to a lot of us. The architectural brilliance of different parts of the world translates those moments for us into concrete canvases. It comes easy to get lost in these architectural designs and appreciate how artistically enriching a moment can be.
Let us take a look at few of the best architectural designs in the world.
5. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Some stories are too mesmerising be finished in a year or even a century. This applies for the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona too. Its construction has been going on for the last 130 years. And a confirmed date of completion is still missing from the picture.
There is a tentative date of 2026 which is most probably going to be pushed back. But one look at this pristine architecture and you will understand why. It looks like the heavenly brilliance is being translated for us mortals one brick at a time in its form.
It boasts of unreal liquid-like spires, ornamental arches and facades along with the vivid stained glass. This roman catholic church is designed by architect Antoni Gaudi. It is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Pope Benedict XVI himself consecrated it as a minor basilica.
It has powered through the Spanish Civil War and stayed erect, though incomplete. Architect Antoni Gaudi worked on it till his death in 1926. Only quarter of this structure was completed till then. It is artistically ground-breaking even today. This one is a must visit for all the architecture buffs out there.
4. Forbidden City, Beijing
This is an entire city preserved and showcased as an architectural heirloom of China. It features heavily on the Chinese tourism vistas. The city features a collection of 980 buildings that have retained their architectural glory well. It has been the political epicentre of ancient China for over a millennium.
The imperial heavy weights from Ming dynasty till Qing dynasty used to reside here. It was constructed in the time interval of 1406AD to 1420AD and its poised allure has made its way to the twenty first century too. It receives over 16 million tourists every year on an average.
Portrait of a City
Today is has become home to the Palace Museum and several other precious historical trinkets of the past. In 1987, it was awarded the well-deserved title of UNESCO World Heritage Site too. It is known for its largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures across the world.
The ‘Forbidden’ in the title comes from the fact that no one was allowed to enter or leave the city without the permission of the emperor. Till now, it has seen over 24 emperors and their reign flourish and passed on to the next heir in line. It has a rich historical fabric carefully designed to flaunt all that the Chinese culture comprised of in those times.
3. The Kaaba, Mecca
This is a sacred site of pilgrimage in the Islamic culture. The Kaaba roughly translates to square in Arabic. The structure is shaped like a square. The pilgrimage to this monument is known as the hajj. Every year millions of devotees visit this place and seek blessings.
The building is neatly covered in cotton and silk veils. It is 5 feet high with one-metre-wide walls. The total size of this building is 627 square feet and also goes by the name of al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah. It is located within the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, one of the most revered mosques of all time.
Holiness of Pilgrimage
The mandatory Tawaf is performed by all the visitors on their pilgrimage to hajj. It consists of seven clockwise revolutions around the Kaaba. The first three are done in a hurried pace while the last four one is done closer to the shrine at a much more relaxed pace.
This ritual is supposed to unify all the believers together in a harmonious state of oneness. The five main types of Tawaf are Ṭawāf az-Zīyārah, Ṭawāf al-Wadā’, Ṭawāf al-‘Umrah, Ṭawāf aṭ-Ṭaḥīyah and Ṭawāf al-Qudūm. They include a series of rituals performed during different times of visit and the season.
2. The Colosseum, Rome
The story behind the architecture is just as rugged as the structure itself. This elliptical amphitheatre is widely known for the gladiator fights that were held here. With over 50 thousand spectators to cheer for, the battle till death seemed all that gruesome.
A lot of present-day stadiums have been inspired by its design. Today they battle for the next highest score surrounded by millions of fans. No less daunting but they at least get to have redo if they lose, just in case! The building was constructed during 72AD and 80AD. It is made largely of stone and concrete.
Fight Till Death
Every little detail of this stadium tells a brave and melancholy trail of brawns. It is one of the best know pieces of Roman architecture till date. Till today, it is the largest structure of its kind, even with all that it has weathered over the years.
A ton of flora and fauna also call it home. After multiple attempts of eradicating its plant life in the name of preservation, over 242 plant species have managed to persist. A number of gleeful birds also migrate here over seasons. This has helped in weaving it in with the local ecosystem rather than being yet another empty remains of the glorious past.
1. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Nariño
The National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Las Lajas is hauntingly beautiful. It looks like a fairytale written in gothic verses. Nestled between the lush green forest of Guáitara River in Southern Colombia, it looks like an ethereal creature magically brought to life in muted tones of the sky.
This gothic style basilica church took a total of 33 years to be built from 1916 till 1949. According to the legend of 1754, a deaf and mute girl saw apparition of the Virgin Mary on this site. And was magically able to speak after that occurrence. Later, this church was commissioned to be built on this very site.
Divine Architecture Calling
It is a prime pilgrimage site in the Christian religion because of this very legend. A vision of Virgin Mary is said to have appeared on a nearby stone which still exists there to this very date. It also goes by the name of “a miracle of God in the abyss.” It is built over the Guáitara canyon.
The immaculately designed towers add an elegant touch to the surrounding woods. The canyon is bridged at the shrine with the two arches of the church. The interiors are line with amazing stained glass works and mosaics in fiberglass. Its over-the-top scenery and neo-Gothic architecture bring in architecture enthusiasts from all over the world.
This wraps us our list of the most breathtaking architectural designs across the world.
Do you travel to see the majestic buildings all over the world? Which is your favorite architectural marvel? Tell us in the comment section below. Also, forward this to your friends and family to rope then in for yet another globetrotting adventure!