Hagia Sophia enters top ten wonder buildings of world
Hagia Sophia ‘is the great architectural landmark at the heart of Istanbul, with its four minarets poised like moon-bound rockets,’ the website says.
The Lonely Planet website has chosen Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia in its list of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Hagia Sophia “is the great architectural landmark at the heart of Istanbul, with its four minarets poised like moon-bound rockets,” the website said.
Constructed in the 6th century A.D. as an Orthodox church, Hagia Sophia later became a mosque, and since 1935 has been a museum. The base of the building’s dome is ringed by windows, so that from within the structure the dome seems to hover ethereally above the building.
Other buildings on the Lonely Planet list include the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Brasília, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the celebrated architect behind the creation of the Brazilian capital, and the Crac des Chevaliers in Syria, described by T.E. Lawrence as the “finest castle in the world.” The castle may be 800 years old but, like a good botox treatment, it stands tight and taut against the ravages of time.
The Winter Palace in Russia, best known as the outer casing for the remarkable State Hermitage Museum, makes the list. The building was designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli as the winter residence of the Russian tsars. Also on the list is the Imam Mosque in Esfahan, Iran, described as “a tiled wonder.” The stunning 17th-century mosque is completely covered, inside and out, with pale blue and yellow ceramic tiles (an Esfahan trademark), that seem to change color depending on the light conditions.
India and Alexandria
Described by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore as “a teardrop on the face of eternity,” the Taj Mahal in Agra could hardly have been left off the list. It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The list also includes what is surely the most extraordinary church on the planet, from the mind of one of history’s most eccentric designers: Antoni Gaudí. With its tapering towers like the straightened arms of an octopus, the construction of Sagrada Família began in 1882, but Gaudí’s vision was so complex that the church is still unfinished.
Winter Palace, Russia.