These amazing structures seem too detailed, too complex, too intricate, or too big to have been built by people, particularly those made long ago before machines existed to aid in their creation. Yet the world’s most beautiful buildings and statues stand as a testament to human capability and innovation. Some cities have more than one – we could do a whole story on Paris alone – but we searched the world to find the structures that best inspire, mystify, and leave us awestruck. We might not be able to see them all in real life, but luckily we can take a trip around the globe to visit them virtually.
The Eiffel Tower
Paris has an abundance of beautiful sites: Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and many more. But the Eiffel Tower stands as the iconic landmark of France’s capital – although it’s only been part of the city for 131 years. Designed by Gustave Eiffel and built in just over two years, which was considered record speed at the time, the 300-metre-tall iron tower was created for the 1889 World’s Fair. “Before coming together at the high pinnacle, the uprights appear to burst out of the ground, and in a way to be shaped by the action of the wind,” Eiffel explained of his simple yet elegant design.
The Taj Mahal
The most beautiful tomb ever created, India’s Taj Mahal looks delicate and refined, decorated with floral and geometric patterns, jewels, calligraphy, and a lace-like design in white marble that reflects the changing colours of the sun in front of a shimmering reflecting pool. Commissioned in 1632 by the Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who had died after giving birth to their 14th child, the mausoleum took 20 years to build. The complex also includes a gateway, mosque, guest house, gardens, and four minarets. Inside the Taj Mahal, the decorations are just as elaborate around the cenotaph, or false tomb, of Mumtaz Mahal; her actual remains are buried below, at ground level.