Visit 20 architectural marvels around the globe

From apartment buildings to ancient masterpieces, these structures offer glimpses into city life around the world.

Building design can inspire a sense of place, tell tales of the past, and offer glimpses into the lives of a city’s residents. And although the impact of grand structures such as Manhattan’s Art Deco skyscrapers or Antoni Gaudi’s eclectic buildings in Barcelona is undeniable, it’s often the smaller, ordinary buildings that tell the truths of day-to-day life. For the attentive eye, the symmetry of a store window can be just as illuminating as the spectacularly painted ceiling of a mosque—and both places have their own story to tell.

New York, New York
Reflections from late afternoon light dance off a building in Midtown Manhattan. Midtown, one of the largest business districts in the world, is known for its iconic buildings, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.
Photograph by Montgomery Gilchrist
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Tokyo, Japan
Colorful lights contrast with the dark windows of an apartment building along Tokyo Bay in Japan. As Japan’s largest city, Tokyo has over nine million residents and apartments are a popular choice for many of them.
Photograph by Massimo Rumi
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Isfahan, Iran
A view of the intricate ceiling of the Music Hall in Iran’s Ali Qapu grand palace. The unusual cutouts in the ceiling are both beautiful and functional—they were designed to dampen echoes and enhance acoustics for musical performances.
Photograph by Hamidreza Bagheri
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Paris, France
The historic buildings of Rue de Rivoli in Paris, France, are reflected with a modern twist. One of the most famous streets in the city, the Rue de Rivoli is lined with fashion boutiques and art galleries, especially near the Louvre.
Photograph by Martina Biccheri
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Pyongyang, North Korea
Colorful buildings surround the Monument to Party Founding in North Korea’s capital city. The monument recognizes the Workers’ Party of North Korea, and uses a hammer, paintbrush, and sickle to represent workers, intellectuals, and farmers, respectively.
Photograph by Absent Ink
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20 mesmerizing photos of architecture across the globe
more by Erin Spencer
at National Geographic

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