7. Here’s what an orthodox church did for World War II.
As we have discussed before, Russia has some of the most intricate and iconic architectural buildings in the world, and when it comes to orthodox churches, they are on the top of the most impressive ones you will ever find. Furthermore, the one church that comes to our mind is St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in Peterhof. You can see why it’s such a loved cathedral when you see pictures from above like this one, which belongs in a postcard! Around 1892, the project of making this building come true came after Emperor Alexander II approved the design made by Nikolay Sultanov to create a place where a more extensive crowd could gather together for mass.
Back then, they did not allow commoners inside churches belonging to the palace. This was the perfect place to keep its inhabitants happy and provide a space for gathering. After many years in the making, in 1905, they finally opened it. The church was shut down in 1935 in the middle of World War II when the structure got damaged while it was being used as artillery headquarter by German military forces. After the war, it stayed closed until it was restored and fixed. In 1990, they celebrated its first service after decades of being closed. The surroundings and the massive structure standing in the middle make this cathedral loved by many people around Russia and the world.
6. A cathedral showing its true colors to the world.
The grandeur of this next building puts it in the big leagues. This is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. It’s the tallest church in Austria, but it’s also one of the tallest churches in the world. At 450 feet high, you can see this building from many corners of Vienna. Not just because of its size and its colors that stand out from the rest. This 12th century church has a beautiful roof with geometrical patterns, a double eagle, colored tiles, Gothic form, and the city’s coat of arms that make the structure completely unique. However, underneath St. Stephens, the remains of two other churches stood in the same place. Now, they are lost forever but never forgotten.
As a tribute to the other churches that were there before St. Stephen’s, once a year, they ring the Plummerin bell for three minutes in the afternoon. You can see the ancient Plummerin bell if you are in shape enough to climb 343 steps to the top of the tower. At that height, you will also have a breathtaking view of the city of Vienna and many areas of Austria. However, the main focus has always been its beautiful colors on the limestone roof. Nevertheless, because it’s hundreds of years old, some colors are hidden by soot and air pollution. Thankfully, they have a restoration team who are working that is working to resurface the beauty of it, which has already cleaned part of the towers.
5. Did you know this architecture is almost a celebrity?
We all need a vacation from time to time, especially in a place that irradiates peace. The Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore is your second home away from home if you have a lot of money to spend, mainly because of the casino property since it’s considered the world’s most expensive one at $6.8 billion US dollars. This fancy resort has 2,651 rooms, a gigantic convention-exhibition center, a mall, museum, movie theater, lots of fancy restaurants, two floating crystal pavilions, art exhibits, and the largest atrium casino in the world with over 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines.
And that’s not all! It also has a Skypark with a capacity of almost 4,000 people and an infinity pool that is on top of the world’s largest cantilevered platform. The mastermind behind this massive resort is architect Moshe Safdie. Card decks inspired him to make the beautiful surroundings and prominent buildings. If this place looks familiar, it’s because it’s on reality shows like The Amazing Race. This place is in films like Crazy Rich Asians and Independence Day: Resurgence. Do you like video games? You probably recognize it from Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 as a destroyed version of the resort. We can say for sure that this building will leave an impression if you ever get to visit it.
4. A massive tribute to a fallen emperor makes for amazing architecture.
Let’s continue admiring Russia’s beautiful churches. Here, we have the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg. This one is an orthodox church and a secular museum, making it one of the most visited and beloved attractions in St. Petersburg. Construction for it started in 1883, and the building opened in 1907. The Romanov Imperial Family funded everything. They honored Emperor Alexander II with this building. At the time, his son Alexander III was in power, so it was a tribute to his father, who died two years prior. Nevertheless, there is more than just a name to honor him inside the church.
A bomb killed Alexander II in the same road and place where the church construction was. They wanted to create a permanent shrine in his name. Therefore, they decided to narrow the canal so that the street where he was assassinated ended up inside the church. Inside, they constructed a ciborium on the opposite side of the altar at the exact place where it took place. Semi-precious stones decorate the building, which contrasts with the rest of the area. While the site has primarily baroque and neoclassical buildings, the church has medieval Russian architecture, which makes it stand up from everything else and resembles a 17th-century Yaroslavi church. If the exterior is iconic, a team of the most celebrated artists designed the interior. They collaborated with architect Alfred Alexandrovich Parland. He decorated the walls with intricate mosaics, being the most than any other church in the world.
3. Look at a breathtaking aerial view of the most significant capital in the world.
The capital of one of the wealthiest countries globally, Washington DC is home to some of the most well-known monuments in North America filled with the nation’s history. Nevertheless, while there are many in the capital city, one stands up from all of them: the Washington Monument. It stands at 554 feet tall. Plus, it is the tallest obelisk and stone structure in the world made out of bluestone gneiss, marble, and granite. This obelisk within the National Mall came in 1966 as a commemoration of George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War and the First President of the United States.
It was also the tallest structure globally. However, the Eiffel Tower in Paris overtook that record in 1889. The design came from the obelisk found in Egypt and made by Robert Mills. If you look closely at the monument, the marble has two different colors. That is because its construction began in 1848, but they halted it from 1854 to 1877. Why? Because they ran out of money. So for 23 years, the monument was only halfway done, and when they finally resumed construction, the marble they used came from a different source which is why it has two different marble shades. You can climb to the top (or use the elevator). There you will have a spectacular view of the capital and all its monuments.
2. The tallest museum in the world has an amazing view from above.
The Mole Antonelliana in Turin, Italy, is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. So much so that you can see a representation of it on the obverse of the Italian 2 euro cent coin. Named after its creator, architect Alessandro Antonelli, the construction of it began around 1863 and opened for the public in 1889, a year after the passing of Antonelli. They designed and constructed it to be a synagogue. Why? Mainly because of how big the Jewish community was in Turin, which at the time it was the capital of the new Italian state. However, when they transferred the money to Florence in 1864, the community got smaller. Nevertheless, the vision of its architect got more extensive, making the building 151 feet taller than the initial plan.
Since the Jewish community was running low in funds, they left the project, and the government took over, finishing Antonelli’s vision. When they finally finished it, the building was 550 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Europe at the time. It also received the title of the tallest unreinforced brick building in the world. Today, the building houses the National Museum of Cinema, making it the tallest museum globally. It had become such a big part of the history of Italy. So much that in 2006 it was the inspiration for the official emblem of the Winter Olympics of that year.
1. The biggest tribute to love through architecture.
When we talk about fantastic home architecture, hands down, the one that we can think is the most impressive (and expensive) is the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, this mausoleum is one of the most well-known structures on the planet. Being the symbol of India’s rich history, it is one of the most visited places with around 8 million visitors every year. The story behind this building is one of heartache and a tribute to love in the most expensive way possible.
Shah Jahan commissioned the building to tribute his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She passed away while giving birth to their 14th child. His grief was so much that he wanted to make the most lavishing mausoleum he could afford. Experts believe that it cost around 32 million rupees to complete, which with inflation, it be approximately 70 billion rupees in 2020. Likewise, that is about 1 billion US dollars. Construction started in 1632. They completed the main building in 1643. However, it took ten more years to finish its surroundings and the rest of the complex. Shah Jahan passed away in 1666. His body lay with his wife, where they reside to this day.