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TOP 15 architectural masterpieces

Tourists from all over the world come to admire them. These works of art are aesthetic, of course, but they are first and foremost true masterpieces of intelligence!

1-Alhambra, Spain

The Alhambra of Granada is one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture in Spain, dating from the 8th century. This majestic medieval acropolis contrasts the grandiose sobriety of early Islamic architecture with the exuberance of the Hispano-Moresque period.

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Alhambra, Spain

2-Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This monumental complex was built in the early 12th century as a “state temple” and capital. The best preserved temple in Angkor, one of the world’s largest medieval cities, it is the only one to have remained an important religious center since its foundation, initially Hindu and later Buddhist. The temple is the archetype of the classical style of Khmer architecture.

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Angkor Wat, Cambodia

3-Taj Mahal, India

Located in Āgrā, this white marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife combines elements of Islamic, Iranian, Ottoman and Indian architecture. Completed in 1643, the complex brings together several pavilions, gardens and terraces.

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Taj Mahal, India

4-Sagrada Familia, Spain

Emblematic monument of the city of Barcelona, this basilica is the unfinished work of the architect Antoni Gaudi. This architect designed a meticulous symbologie that makes this building a mystical poem. The work began in 1882, the Sagrada Familia is not yet finished.

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Sagrada Familia, Spain

5-Millau Viaduct, France

This amazing cable-stayed bridge crosses the Tarn valley, in the Aveyron department, on a distance of 2 460 meters. At 270 meters high, it offers a great panorama with winds that can blow at more than 200 km/h. This project required thirteen years of technical and financial studies and cost more than 320 million euros.

5-Millau Viaduct, France

6-Winter Palace, Russia

This imperial palace, located in the heart of St. Petersburg, was built from 1754 to 1762 at the request of Empress Elisabeth, daughter of Peter the Great. Today, the buildings house the Hermitage Museum, the largest museum in the world in terms of exhibits. The palace is considered a jewel of Russian Baroque art; each facade is decorated differently.

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6-Winter Palace, Russia

7-Blue Mosque, Turkey

The Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii is one of the historic mosques of Istanbul. Built between 1609 and 1616, it is a mixture of elements taken from Ottoman mosques and Byzantine churches. Its interior is decorated just as lavishly as its exterior.

8-Yaxchilan, Mexico

Perched in a spectacular setting above the jungle, Yaxchilan is an ancient Mayan city located in the eastern state of Chiapas. The archaeological site is located in a horseshoe-shaped loop of the Usumacinta River, which acts as a natural border between Mexico and Guatemala. A Mayan site that impresses with its ball fields, pyramids and carved frescoes, all dating back to the 4th century.

Yaxchilan, Mexico

9-Potala Palace, Tibet

Located in Lhasa, on Marpari Hill (known as “the red hill”), this building embodies the union of spiritual and temporal power and their respective roles in the administration of Tibet. Built by the fifth Dalai Lama in the 17th century, the palace has been the main residence of successive Dalai Lamas. Built at an altitude of 3,700 meters, on a hill 130 meters high, the palace is more like a fortress than a monastery.

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Potala Palace, Tibet

10-Great Wall, China

This set of military fortifications were built, destroyed and rebuilt in several times and places between the 3rd century BC and the 17th century to mark and defend China’s northern border. It is the most important architectural structure ever built by man in terms of length, surface and mass.

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Great Wall, China

11-Guggenheim Museum, Spain

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art located in the Spanish Basque Country that opened to the public in 1997. Its silhouette is the result of a singular assemblage of stone, glass and titanium. The museum has quickly become one of the most famous and appreciated contemporary buildings in the world, doing a great deal for the renewal and notoriety of Bilbao.

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Guggenheim Museum, Spain

12-Falkirk Wheel, Scotland

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat elevator, linking the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal, near the town of Falkirk in central Scotland. The elevator system raises the boats 24 meters. This “wheel” is unique in the world and is a masterpiece of civil engineering that attracts many tourists.

Falkirk Wheel, Scotland

13-Gur Emir, Uzbekistan

The Gur Emir is an octahedral building covered with colored tiles crowned with an impressive 32-meter high dome. Built in 1401, this mausoleum located in Samarkand occupies an important place in the history of Persian architecture. It is indeed the precursor and model of the great Mughal tombs, like the Taj Mahal.

Gur Emir, Uzbekistan

14-Lalibela, Ethiopia

The rock churches of Lalibela are eleven monolithic churches carved out of the rock. The layout of the site was designed so that its topography corresponded to a symbolic representation of the Holy Land, hence its name “Black Jerusalem”. Built at the beginning of the 13th century, these churches remain a mystery to mankind since no historical document gives information on the architects, the workers or their precise date of foundation. However, it is obvious that enormous means must have been used to build these amazing structures.

Lalibela, Ethiopia

15-Pyramid of Cheops, Egypt

The pyramid of Cheops, or Great Pyramid of Giza, is a monument built by the Egyptians more than 4,500 years ago. Presumed tomb of the pharaoh Khufu, its numerous architectural features and the feats achieved for its construction make it a pyramid that never ceases to raise questions in Man.

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Pyramid of Cheops

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