For thousands of years, mankind has made its mark on the world. Some of the greatest buildings have withstood the tests of time and survive as great monuments to the civilizations of long ago and today we continue to build, higher, grander – anything to prove our greatness.
While the styles and locations may different, what these buildings have in common is the dream and the genius to create something both contemporary and timeless. As the years pass, each achievement is built on the backs of the technological breakthroughs of the buildings that came before it.
The Roman Empire actually had many colosseums, but the greatest and grandest was in its capital city. The arches of the arena are humbling to stand beneath and looking across the open space, you can hear the echoes of the gladiators and the roar of lions.
This great center of entertainment was half of the magical combination of “bread and circus.” It represents the power of Rome and the intelligence of Rome’s leaders to understand what people really want.
The Pantheon is an epic poem of a building that celebrates math, scientific discovery and precision. Unearthing the details of the building reveals just how knowledgeable the ancient Romans were in terms of astronomy and architecture.
The perfect circle envelopes worshippers and the oculus at the center of the roof draws the eye upward, casting a mysterious and otherworldly glow.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
One of the happiest accidents in the world, the Leaning Tower probably wouldn’t have amounted to much if it hadn’t…leaned. There’s not much in Pisa besides for the Tower at this point and most of the tourism in the town is due to their unique tower.
It’s still worth a quick visit on any Italy trip, even if only for the funny picture possibilities! Take a minute to admire the wonderful stacked Roman arches as well – you’ll be seeing a lot of those around Europe.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
This cathedral is actually still in the process of being built. One of Gaudi’s greatest gifts to the people of Barcelona has yet to see completion. As an artist and architect Gaudi’s work is ahead of its time, even today, some two hundred years after he started the project.
In his instructions to the subsequent builders, Gaudi made it clear that each artisan should work in the style of their time and not try and copy previous styles. The result is a wonderful collection of styles and artists.
The Shard, London
This modern giant dominates the London skyline. The sleek and modern style is both eye-catching and elegant. As many things in London, it took locals a little bit of time to get on board, but now it’s officially part of the London look.
Architects needed to exercise extreme precision when putting The Shard into place as the large glass panels could not be off by more than a millimeter.
Another modern classic, this piece by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright spans a waterfall near Pittsburg.
Its modern interior is a refreshing combination of interior and exterior space, creating a relaxing and peaceful environment. Though it was built as a private home, the house is now a museum.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain is a piece of art all by itself.
The collection inside is incredibly impressive but the building that houses the tremendous works is the real prize.
The Empire State Building, New York City
The city that never sleeps wouldn’t have that image without the shining lights of the Empire State Building.
The building has seen more proposals than it can count and has become synonymous with romance in the city. Think: Sleepless in Seattle.
The White House, Washington D.C.
This one is a throwback to some of the earlier buildings we mentioned. Built in the neoclassical style, the president’s home is meant to recall the law and order of ancient Rome. T
he powerful structure has certainly seen its share of history. Probably its best-known secret is the bowling alley in the basement.