World’s Prettiest Buildings
flcikr image by DiVerexe

World’s Prettiest Buildings


When mankind puts his mind to it, he can produce some truly stunning edifices. Every country and culture in the world has its own, unique architectural style, but some buildings still manage to stand out from the crowd, wowing us with their beauty. Age is no guarantee of architectural immortality, and neither is geographical location. Here is our subjective list:

Peterhof, Russia

Peterhof, Russia

flickr image by petahopkins

Built by Peter the Great, and no doubt inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France, Peterhof is a short distance outside Saint Petersburg, overlooking the waters between Russia and Finland. Built on a hill that runs down to the sea, the location is one of the palace’s many virtues. Formal gardens are decorated with numerous spectacular fountains, many of them gilded so they catch the light of the sun.

Interestingly, much of what you see at Peterhof is not original. During World War II Hitler announced that when he finally conquered Russia, he would host his victory party at Peterhof. Determined to thwart this ambition, Stalin ordered that much of the building be demolished just in case. As it happens, the Nazis never did take Peterhof, and the Russians rebuilt their palatial masterpiece in the decades after the war.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

flickr image by sandeepachetan.com

The world’s most famous mausoleum is built from pure white marble and is embedded with precious and semi-precious stones. Build to house the body of the Mughal Queen Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj is a monument to love quite unlike any other. The building is perfectly symmetrical, except for in one regard: the architect designed it to contain just one sarcophagus, that of Mumtaz Mahal, and so when her husband was later buried alongside her, he had to be buried off centre.

Juliet’s House, Italy

Juliet’s House, Italy

flickr iamge by kevinpoh

Connotations of romance certainly add to the perceived beauty of a place, and few places are more romantic than the house of Juliet in Verona, Italy. This is the house, it is said, where Shakespeare’s Juliet was wooed by her tragic lover, Romeo. Visitors can still stand upon Juliet’s balcony at the front of the house, imaginging their own everylasting love affairs.

Brighton Pavilion, UK

Brighton Pavilion, UK

flickr image by ADTeasdale

King George of England built this pleasure palace on the south coast of England. It was a place where he could escape from London, host elaborate parties and entertain his mistresses. The building is an oriental wedding cake with Indo-Saracenic domes and lattice work, all carved from white marble. Inside you’ll find Chinese and Turkish interiors, wonderful furnishings and trade goods from India and beyond. Brighton Pavilion is a fantasty building: although inspired by other buildings around the world, it has no one inspiration but rather is a fusion of many styles that would not normally be found together.

Chehel Sotoun, Iran

Chehel Sotoun, Iran

flickr image by bijan.tehrani

In Isfahan, once the capital of Safavid Iran, is glorious Chehel Sotoun, a 16th century pavilion built amidst a Persian garden. The name, Chehel Sotoun, means 40 pillars and is a reference to the temple of Solomon. The building itself has just 20 pillars as the other 20 are reflected in the water of the pond in front of the pavilion. This was a place where the Persian emperor would entertain his royal guests and ambassadors, serving them the finest foods and reminding them that Iran was the centre of the civilised world.

Registan, Uzbekistan

Registan, Uzbekistan

flickr image by Richard Towell

The Registan, the central square of Samarkand, has a rather bloody history: it was for many years the site of public exectutions, and criminals could be thrown down from the top of the square’s mighty minaret. Even this does not detract from the beauty of the space, however.

Three buildings make three sides of the square; the fourth side remains empty. Although build at slightly different times, the design of each building complements the next and the decorative tilework, added in the Timurid era, is amongst the finest in the world. Tiny tiled stars decorate the Madrassa of Ulugbeg (a famed astronomer as well as an emperor) whilst on the opposite side of the square the tiles depict tigers and human faces.

Mont Saint Michel, France

Mont Saint Michel, France

flickr image by Matthieu Luna

Situated on a small island off the northern coast of France, and accessible only at low tide, Mont Saint Michel was built as a monastery atop a hill, and it became fortified over the centuries. Immediately beneath the monastery is a maze of medieval cobbled streets filled with beautiful historic buildings and as you can only go up and down on foot, the sense of anticipation builds as you climb. The island can be seen from great distances away, and there are few more beautiful sights as it is backlit by the sunset. Unlike the other pretty buildings on this list, you can even spend the night at a little hotel inside.

Date posted: 24th July, 2017

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