The Most Incredible Architecture in the World That You Have to See to Believe

Trista - February 20, 2023

We love a beautiful house or an interesting building just as much as the next guy. However, I appreciate the genius behind such architectural feats. Whether it is tile, steel, concrete, or something completely unique, there is a plethora of structural masterpieces in the world. So, let’s get up on our feet and whoop it up like it’s the World Cup. Okay, maybe you don’t need to go that far. Luckily, you don’t need to travel the world to appreciate its diverse architecture. Check out some of the best architectural wonders and learn about the architects that pulled off these dazzling and ambitious accomplishments. Keep scrolling, and you’ll discover exactly why these architects deserve the hype.


Elegant Staircase Leading into the Sea in Artatore, Croatia

Located on the gravel beaches of Artatore, Croatia, this elegant stone staircase descends gracefully from the rocky banks straight into the beautiful waters of Artatore Bay. The beaches in this part of the island are littered with stones. Thus, this staircase is a brilliant way to access the water without hurting your feet. In the summer, when Artatore is at its most beautiful, this staircase provides stunning views of the crystal-clear waters and the boats that converge at Artatore Bay. It isn’t just the perfect backdrop for the mandatory summer selfie; it is also a brilliant architectural design that merges architecture with Mother Nature.

The American Institute for Roman Culture

The Colosseum in the City of Rome

Few people in the world have not heard of the majestic Colosseum at the heart of Rome, and if you are one of the few, let me tell you that it is one of the most spectacular works of architecture in the history of the world. Oval in shape and standing about 12 stories high, the Colosseum is the largest in the globe, with the ability to fit an entire football field inside while housing over 50,000 spectators. Architects of that era devised a brilliant scheme to create this colossal building, using travertine limestone, volcanic rock, and brick-faced concrete as the foundation of this masterpiece. Built between 72 A.D. and 80 A.D., the Colosseum is an ancient wonder that should be experienced in person.


Il Castel Del Monte in Andria, Southern Italy

Symmetry in architecture can be both attractive and functional. It seems this was the thinking behind the Il Castel del Monte construction, a 13th-century citadel and castle built on a hill in Andria, Italy. The brainchild of King Frederick II, who created many castles in Italy during his rule, the Castel del Monte is unique because of its geometric design. Constructed in the 1240s, this castle was smaller than most and built in the shape of an octagonal prism with octagonal towers at each corner. Why it was made this way is unclear. Many theorize they built it as a hunting lodge. However, others believe Frederick’s visit to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem inspired the creation. Whatever the reason, this castle is a spectacular piece of architecture that many choose to visit every year.


Heidelberg Castle in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Now one of the most famous landmarks in Germany, the Heidelberg ruins used to be a Renaissance castle and one of the most important structures of that era north of the Alps. Initially built in 1214, this imposing feat of architecture and engineering towers over the old downtown, 260 feet up the northern side of Königstuhl hill. Set amid a picturesque forest of green, it is impossible to describe the Heidelberg as anything but majestic, especially at the height of its stature as one of the most notable ensembles of buildings of the Holy Roman Empire. Sadly, the castle fell to ruins after the Thirty Years War, but what’s left of its impressive architecture remains on display for the millions of tourists who visit every year.


Cottage Between Rocks in Brittany, France

When you talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place, you can’t get any more literal than the Castel Meur, a 19th-century cottage built between two stone slabs on the rocky coastline of Plougrescant in Brittany, France. Built in 1861, this unique tiny home was only possible because, at that time, permits weren’t necessary to build houses. You could create a structure virtually anywhere, allowing the original homeowner to sandwich his cottage between majestic granite rocks.

Also known as La Maison du Gouffre, or ‘the house in the chasm,’ this home was built with its back to the sea to protect it from the notoriously ferocious storms in this seaside town. Its unique setting earned the Castel Meur a place in this small town’s postcards, drawing tourists and architecture enthusiasts alike. Keep reading for more amazing buildings by the best architects in the world.

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Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Québec, Canada

Towering over Old Quebec on a bluff overlooking the mighty St. Lawrence River, the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac isn’t just a hotel. It is itself the heart of the city. Designed by American architect Bruce Price, in the Chateauesque architectural style, this hotel embodies everything that is grandiose and majestic. This hotel is an example of the grand hotels developed by railway companies to encourage wealthy travelers to ride their trains. Nevertheless, grand is an understatement when describing the Chateau Frontenac. Its French castle-inspired architecture is breathtaking and sublime, so much so that it has become the most photographed hotel in the world and a National Historic Site of Canada in 1981.


The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California

The Roman indoor pool in San Luis Obispo’s famous Hearst Castle is the picture of luxury. A lavish creation modeled after the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and created from the vision of one of California’s first licensed female architects, Julia Morgan, who also built the entire Hearst Castle for newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. It has hosted Hollywood royalty, from Charlie Chaplin to Joan Crawford. Designed by British muralist Camille Solon, this indoor pool is a sight to behold, with shimmering mosaic tiles in blue, orange, and gold papering the marble walls from ceiling to floor. People call these glass tiles smalti.


Bosco Verticale Residential Buildings in Milan, Italy

You don’t see these kinds of buildings every day. Striking in its unique use of vertical space and the paradox of seeing so much greenery growing out of concrete and steel, this Bosco Verticale residential building in Milan, Italy, is an experiment in metropolitan reforestation and urban diversity. Boeri Studio designed the building. This set of residential buildings explores how urban design could help save cities like Milan from extreme pollution to the point of becoming unlivable. Inspired by traditional Italian buildings covered with ivy, the Bosco Verticale has 28 cm thick balconies protruding for 3.35 meters, allowing them to house 900 trees, 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 floral plants.


Natural History Museum in London, England

With a vision to become a “Cathedral of Nature,” Sir Richard Owen kicked off what is to become the Natural History Museum in London, one of the oldest, most complete museums of natural history in the world. Originally designed by Francis Fowke, who also designed the Royal Albert Hall, the museum plans were continued by Alfred Waterhouse when Fowke died a year after winning the contest to create the museum. Under Waterhouse’s leadership and with Owen’s guidance, the museum, one of Britain’s most striking examples of Romanesque architecture, rose from the ground and became one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

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Nuru Karim’s Rainwater Catcher in San Jose, CA

While this tower is still in its conceptual stages, it is already quite the talk of the town. It is nothing short of spectacular. The design is breathtaking and unlike anything we’ve ever seen – certainly not like the water towers we’re used to. Nuru Karim designed it. The tower catches and transports water into a shallow harvesting pool before being collected into a larger tank to aid water conservation and help in the larger fight against climate change. Designed as a sensory experience celebrating water, the tower also serves as an experiential installation that evokes the senses, allowing visitors to awaken their sense of touch, smell, sight, and hearing. They use every space efficiently, as the textured exterior of the tower collects water in gentle drips and rivulets. You can use its interior space for sizable gatherings.


Bruges, Belgium

If you want to experience medieval architecture, Bruges in Belgium is the place to go. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe, and its Historical Center has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site since 2000. If you walk around town, Bruges offers many historic buildings to discover. One is the Church of Our Lady, whose 379-foot brick spire towers over the city. It houses an impressive collection of art. That includes the Michaelangelo sculpture of Madonna and Child, one of a rare few to have ever left Italy. If walking is not your thing, Bruges has got you covered. Like Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, Bruges is one of the few canal-based cities of the north, with a port once one of the most important trading posts in the Middle Ages.

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Sea Serpent Skeleton Sculpture in Saint Brevin, France

At 400 feet long, this massive metal sculpture of a sea serpent’s skeleton sits on the shores of Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins. It is a spectacular installation with an ominous message. The environment is declining at an alarming rate. Furthermore, it is not only real creatures that are perishing but also the sense of wonder and fantasy that nature fosters among us. The sculpture, part of the Estuaire art exhibition, was unveiled in 2012 – the work of French-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. Ingeniously designed to be covered and uncovered by the tides, this aluminum sculpture’s serpent tail sits at the low tide limit. In contrast, its head sits at the high tide limit so that it would be possible to walk all around it at low tide, but at high tide, only its head and parts of its vertebrae would be visible.


Jal Mahal in Jaipur, India

India is well known for its spectacular palaces, but the Jal Mahal in Jaipur is in a league of its own. Also known as the Water Palace, Jal Mahal is so named because it sits surrounded by the waters of Man Sagar Lake – a five-story architectural wonder showcasing the best Rajput and Mughal craftsmanship. Of those five stories, only one – the top floor – is visible. The rest is underwater, probably right at the bottom of the lake, as Man Sagar Lake’s maximum depth is 15 feet. Originally built in 1699, Maharaja Jai Singh II subsequently renovated the Jal Mahal in the 18th century before undergoing another round of renovations to preserve the palace. Its red-sandstone walls, octagonal chhatris, and exquisite marble carvings all make this water-locked palace a sight to behold, one that is a magnificent view from the water or the hills above and around it.

National Geographic

The Red Stone City of Petra, Jordan

A visit to Jordan wouldn’t be complete without taking in the amazing architectural wonders of Petra, the “Rose Red City” called so because of the blushing pink sandstone out of which caves, temples, and tombs have been carved and hewn. High up in the deserts of Jordan, Petra, also known as Raqmu, isn’t just an architectural marvel. It is also a site of historical significance. It was built by the Nabateans almost 2,000 years ago when it became an essential stop in the ancient trade routes that carried incense, spices, and other valuable goods. How this city high up in the mountainous desert region of Jordan grew with such sophistication is a mystery, but what is clear is that this ancient civilization was a feat of architecture and engineering.


The Abbey in Mont St. Michel, France

Perched atop the tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel, the abbey is a historical structure. It began as a monastery wrapped around the granite rock that juts out of the island’s top, an architectural feat that almost defies the laws of balance. Built with medieval religious architecture spanning the Carolingians to the Gothic, the abbey reflects the town’s structure at the time. It goes God, the abbey, and the monastery on top, and in descending order, the Great halls, stores, and housing. At the very bottom was the farmers’ and fishermen’s housing. Today, the magnificent sight of the abbey and its historical significance make it one of the most visited sites in France. Together with the island and surrounding bay, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.


The Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran

Stretching from the ground into the sky, this stunning marble tower is an architectural wonder in the city of Tehran that is part of the Azadi Cultural Complex and is considered the symbol of Iran. Built on a hill in the western part of the city, the last shah of Iran commissioned the tower to commemorate the 2,500 years of the Persian empire. Architect Hossein Amanat won the project. He based his design on classical and post-classical Iranian architecture. The Azadi tower started as Shah’s Memorial Tower before being renamed in 1979, after the Islamic Revolution, to its current name, meaning freedom.

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The General Electric Building in New York City

New York City is a mecca for architecture enthusiasts, with buildings and skyscrapers of every shape, size, and style dotting its vibrant skyline. The GE building, also known as 570 Lexington Avenue, is an architectural icon. Built in 1931, originally for RCA-Victor, this brick and terracotta building soars 640 feet with 50 floors designed in the Gothic/Art Deco style. Architects Cross & Cross infused the building with plenty of electricity and radio wave symbolism on the inside while keeping it harmonious with the design of its neighbors, St. Bartholomew’s Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral High School. While the building no longer houses RCA, the design still allowed its new owners, General Electric, to absorb the symbolism infused into the structure as the radio waves came into the electrical theme of GE.


The Fountain Room at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA

As eccentric and unique as its owner, Hammond Castle is both home and laboratory to remote control inventor John Hays Hammond Jr., whose vision it was to create this structure in the medieval and European Renaissance style. Built between 1926 and 1929, the castle stands by the water near Norman’s Woe Reef. It is brimming with exciting artifacts, antiques, unique collections, and a hodgepodge of theatrical features. That includes hidden passageways, indoor steam pipes for “fogging” plants, and a nine-foot swimming pool that looks like a green-tinged pond. Hammond, who was a prolific inventor and who loved to entertain celebrities like Walt Disney or Marlene Dietrich in his unique home, would often shock his guests by diving into the green waters of the indoor courtyard pool, making them believe that it was, in fact, a fishpond instead of the pool that it actually was.


Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey

Located underneath a large public square called the Stoa Basilica, this cavernous underground cistern is one of the many cultural and architectural wonders of Istanbul, Turkey. Built in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, this large subterranean cistern was initially intended to provide a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and is the biggest of all the hundreds of cisterns that exist underneath the city of Istanbul. The Basilica cistern is no longer used to store water. Now, it is mostly empty, so visitors can appreciate its amazing architecture. Imagine a cathedral built underground with cavernous ceilings and 336 columns to support its entire length and the ability to hold 80,000 cubic meters of water.

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Beautiful Spiral Staircase in Bojnice Castle, Slovakia

One of the oldest and most significant castles in Slovakia and Central Europe, Bojnice Castle sits on a beautiful travertine mountain, a medieval castle dating back to the 11th century. Budapest architect J. Hubert did the most recent renovation. He patterned it after the romantic castles of Loire, France. This romanticization created the castle’s current medieval silhouette. It was enhanced by the castle’s steep roofs, chapels, and towers, making it a popular location for filming fairy tale movies. While the castle is immensely popular among tourists, drawing in crowds and making it one of the most visited castles in Slovakia, the stunning spiral stairway inside is one of its most striking features. In true medieval fashion, the staircase is set into the walls and spirals clockwise from the bottom.


Church of The Sacred Heart in Barcelona, Spain

If you happen to find yourself in the city of Barcelona, it would be virtually impossible to miss the breathtaking Church of the Sacred Heart, an iconic church sitting atop Mount Tibidabo that dominates the Spanish city’s skyline. Eric Sagnier initially designed it, and his son Joseph Maria Sagner completed it. It is clear to see, just by looking at the church, how two different architects who completed the work in two different periods could design one structure using two distinct architectural styles. At its base, the church crypt was built first between 1902 and 1911 in the Byzantine style using stone from Montjuic, while the main church was built later, from 1915 to 1961, in the neo-Gothic style using lighter colored stone from Girona.

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Al Makkiyah in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

You won’t see a house as memorable and extraordinary as the Angawi House in downtown Jeddah, a feat of architecture that is so spectacular in its ability to marry both urban and traditional design that it has become an icon in Saudi Arabia. Preeminent Saudi architect Sami Angawi designed this property which was home to the Angawi family. It stands out with its luxurious castle-like exteriors and its use of traditional Hijazi Rawasheen. This intricately carved wooden window frame is a staple in old buildings around Jeddah and Makkah. Dr. Angawi’s house isn’t just the family home, though; it also acts as a woodworking workshop and a public museum of woodcrafts. This is in step with the architect’s mission to preserve Saudi heritage and traditions, as the workshop also produces the most beautiful Rawasheen in the region.

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The Royal Palace of Naples

The Royal Palace of Naples is an architectural behemoth steeped in the history and tradition of this Italian state. Built in the early 17th century under Spanish rule, the palace was modern for its time. Domenico Fontaine designed it in the Renaissance style before undergoing subsequent expansion and remodeling in the following centuries. Sitting majestically within the Plaza del Plebiscito, the palace is 554 feet long and one of Naples’ most iconic buildings. With an imposing facade, delicate frescoes, a monumental staircase of honor, and an upgrade to the neoclassical style in 1837 by architect Gaetano Genovese, the palace draws hundreds of thousands of tourists wishing to bask in the beauty of its architecture and appreciate the history that its walls contain. Visitors can also marvel at its collection of furnishings, tapestries, porcelain, and other works of art.

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Traditional Uyghur Architecture in Kashgar, China

A unique region in the westernmost part of China, Kashgar is home to the Uyghur, one of 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities in the country. However, unlike the rest of China, Kashgar feels like a completely different place, often with little trace of what culturally defines China as a nation. The influence here is decidedly Central Asian, more Muslim than Buddhist, with Turkic spoken in the streets instead of Chinese and characters written in Arabic. Before it was razed to the ground, Kashgar’s old town was once considered the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city in Central Asia. It attracts more than a million tourists every year. It housed the largest mosque in China and the tomb of Afaq Khoja, the holiest Muslim site in Xinjiang. With heavy Islamic influences, the homes and buildings here have striking sculptural forms and dazzling ornamental detail. Domes, minarets, and arches abound, while walls feature mosaic tiles and intricate wooden latticework.


The Schwerin Castle Surrounded by Water

The Schwerin Castle in the town of Schwerin in Germany is one of the most spectacular works of architecture that is nothing short of breathtaking. Every angle and detail reveal the stunning design and engineering work that surely went into its planning and construction when it first rose from the middle of Lake Schwerin between 1845 and 1857. For centuries after its construction, the castle was home to the dukes and duchesses of Mecklenburg and Mecklenburg-Schwerin before the seat of parliament finally occupied it over 100 years ago. Because of its iconic stature and historical significance, it is considered one of Europe’s most important works of romantic Historicism. It will become a World Heritage site.

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Eagle Demigod Statue in Kerala, India

Considered the tallest bird sculpture anywhere in the world, the Jatayu, or the mythical eagle demigod, is easily an unforgettable piece of architecture that took almost ten years to make. Sitting atop the Jatayupara Towers at the Jatayu Earth’s Center in Kerala, this massive fallen eagle sculpture stood at 200 feet. Filmmaker and sculptor Rajiv Anchal created it. Located at Chataya-Mangalam in the Kollam district of Kerala, the statue depicts an epic of Ramayana. The mythical eagle, Jatayu, falls from the sky after trying to rescue Rama’s wife, Sita. The demon king Ravana is trying to abduct her. While this sculpture is not the only outstanding piece of art in India, it will surely dazzle viewers and tourists for years to come.


“Wooden Cave” in Trikala, Greece

Sure, caves and wood both evoke images of nature separately. However, they do not seem to make sense unless together. That is, unless you are an architect and can combine two seemingly distinct and irreconcilable elements to form a unique structure. This seems to be what the architects at Tenon Architecture accomplished when they designed this wooden cave in Trikala, Greece. Architects Apostolos Mitropoulos and Thanos Zervos conceptualized and created it. Why? For the Hyades Mountain Resort in Trikala. The space is one of two renovated guest rooms in the resort. It has a unique carved wooden interior meant to be a warm, inviting space that starkly contrasts the living areas and exterior made with dark stone.

Where Do we Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:,_London#Planning_and_architecture_of_new_building,_arts,_and_culture,as%20the%20RCA%20Victor%20Building%20during%20its%20construction.,of%20Sultan%20Hassan%20and%20Al-Rifai%20in%20Cairo%2C%20Egypt,_Apulia