If you are one of the last, those who are easily carried away by the beauty of the buildings and the architectural details, discover in this article 6 examples of cities worldwide that stand out in an architectural, symbolic style.
Getting lost in the ruins of Athens, so recognized internationally, takes us back in time to Ancient Greece. The stonework dates back to 400 BC, where rows of columns support temples with no end in sight, and sculptures of deities are part of the common imagination.
We know today that classical architecture had a public function and was mainly concerned with religious matters and important events, such as sports competitions.
A perfect example of classical architecture is the Temple of Hephaestus. Known for a long time as the Temple of Theseus, it is today the best Greek temple in terms of conservation. Also noteworthy is the Temple of Olympian Zeus, dedicated to the same god, also known as Olympus, and located in the centre of the Greek capital. We cannot fail to mention the iconic Parthenon, probably the most famous example of classical Greek architecture.
Did you know that this building, over the years, has had different uses, such as a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary at the end of the 6th century, and a mosque after the Ottoman conquest, at the beginning of 1460?
Visiting the city of Rome is like discovering an open book dedicated to practically all styles of architecture. However, there is one that stands out considerably: the baroque! Today, the city is probably the most important centre of 17th-century Baroque architecture.
Did you know that in the Baroque, the emotional prevails over the rational since its purpose is to impress the observer’s senses, based on the principle that faith should be achieved through emotion and not just by reasoning?
Fontana di Trevi, Rome
It is precisely this ideal that Rome brought together the greatest artists of the time to renovate the city centre, squares, churches, fountains, palaces, and many other buildings. To get to know and appreciate the most exuberant details of this movement, be sure to visit Bernini’s St. Peter’s Square, which is the best-known example of Baroque urban planning; Praça de Espanha, with its famous staircase; the Fontana di Trevi, the largest baroque fountain in Italy at almost 26 meters high and 20 meters wide; and also the Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, considered one of Borromini’s masterpieces.
On the banks of the River Seine, Paris is a destination for love but also for lovers of culture, art and, of course, Gothic architecture, whose main innovation, at the time, was the invention of the concave roof, in the form of ogives and arches diagonals that allow an authentic elevation of the building, in all directions.
Did you know that the main objective of building temples with such audacious structures was governed by the principle “The higher the temple, the closer man is to God”?
Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of the main medieval buildings in Paris that began in 1163, is probably the greatest exponent of the Gothic style. Although it was started in England, it is also on the outskirts of Paris that you can admire the first “fully Gothic” project that inspired other buildings: the Basilica of Saint Denis.
Sainte Chapelle, Paris
Also noteworthy is the Sainte Chapelle, a true gem of Gothic architecture. Built to house the Relics of the Passion of Christ, this building highlights another essential element of Gothic construction, the stained glass window.
With over 2,000 Buddhist temples, visiting Kyoto is like travelling back in time. Considered by many to be the heart of Japanese culture, this city holds the history and typical Japanese architecture and many traditional customs.
Did you know that Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for over 1000 years until it was transferred to Tokyo in 1868? And yet, which brings together 17 sites classified by Unesco?
Kinkaku-Ji Temple, Kyoto
To discover more about Japanese architecture, you cannot miss visiting the Fushimi Inari shrine, which became famous as the setting for the movie “Memories of a Geisha” and brings thousands of Torii (gates that symbolize the opening to a divine state and are offered by devotees). Other places not to be missed are Kinkaku-Ji, also known as “the golden temple” clad in gold leaf, Nishi Honganji temple and Katsura Imperial Village.
In the transition from Gothic to Renaissance, the Manueline style took over the Paços de Lisboa and Sintra, as well as the buildings being built at the time, such as the Jerónimos or the Torre de Belém.
Did you know that the Manueline style, which owes its name to King Manuel I, is a unique art form in the world, born in Lisbon at the end of the 15th century?
At this time, numerous monuments appear, where the dimension and depth of the arches and twists, the natural elements, strange marine shapes, the Armillary Sphere and the Cross of Christ, which decorate cornices, facades and vaults, create the pure Manueline style.
Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon
To be able to admire the minute details, you should closely contemplate, in Lisbon, the Torre de Belém. Built in honour of S. Vicente, patron saint of Lisbon, its interior is rich in carved stone ornaments, armillary spheres, the cross of the Order of Christ and natural elements, such as a rhinoceros. You can also visit the Jerónimos Monastery, one of the works that best expresses this architecture and which was commissioned by D. Manuel I himself shortly after Vasco da Gama’s return from India. Also noteworthy is the Church of Conceição Velha, to the east of Praça do Comércio. Its facade is one of the best Manueline structures that survived the great earthquake and has been classified as a national monument since 1910.
Dubai is, perhaps, due to the exuberant architectural landscape that fills the eyes, the best place to visit works of modern architecture. The city, which is made up of a skyline full of skyscrapers and pioneering constructions at all levels, is characterized by several records regarding its projects’ size. For example, you cannot miss the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, at 828 meters high, or the Burj Al-Arab, 320 meters high in the shape of a sail, classified as the first “seven-star” hotel in the world.
Did you know that Dubai has one of the tallest towers in the world with a 90-degree spiral/twist? It’s the Cayan Tower!
Other buildings that are also impressive for their magnitude and innovation are, for example, the Dubai Opera House or the Museum of the Future, the city’s last ex-libris and already described as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
The city is a world highlight in futuristic architecture today.
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