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    A grand tour of the world’s coolest buildings

    Lonely Planet pays an architectural tribute to some of the world’s greatest (and coolest) man-made constructions in their new book, Amazing Architecture: A Spotter's Guide. Recommended for design enthusiasts who love to travel, the book showcases 120 spectacular architectural marvels from around the world.

    Here is a selection of a few of these architectural wonders ranging from the classic to the contemporary, and from the beautiful to the intriguing.


    Winter Palace Square, Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Featuring baroque architecture, the Winter Palace located in the heart of Saint Petersburg is a striking white and azure vision designed by an Italian architect, Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in mid-18th century. The palace was home to the Russian Emperors and also the site of many historic events.

    Image: Brian Kinney/Shutterstock


    Shukhov Tower, Russia

    A broadcasting tower in Moscow named after its designer, Vladimir Shukhov, the Shukhov Tower – Russia’s Eiffel Tower to some – is a 160-metre tall steel structure featuring a series of hyperboloid sections stacked to form a conical shape. When lit up at night, it loosely resembles a Christmas tree.

    Image: Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock


    Masjid-I Imam or Shah Mosque, Iran

    A classic example of Persian architecture, the mosque features colourful mosaics, intricate calligraphic inscriptions and an arched entranceway with striking stalactite tilework along with amazing acoustic properties within, which allow the Imam to be heard by everyone in the building.

    Image: Ravi Tahilramani/Getty Images


    The Pompidou Centre, Paris, France

    The final outcome of France’s first international design competition, The Pompidou Centre is a museum featuring a playful design and colourful construction.

    Image: Pics Factory/Shutterstock


    Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore

    Singapore’s ‘hotel in a garden’ features 15,000sqm of elevated terraced gardens and is designed by Singapore-based architecture firm WOHA. Green walls, water features and numerous tiered 'sky gardens' are some of the highlights of this garden hotel.

    Image: Ariyaphol Jiwalak/Shutterstock


    The Crooked House, Poland

    Taking the fairy-tale illustrations of Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg as inspiration, the architects designed a crooked building at the Rezydent shopping centre. Built in 2004, the building is located in the seaside city of Sopot.

    Image: Konstantin Tronin/Shutterstock


    St Basil's Cathedral, Kremlin, Russia

    Also inspired by a fairy-tale – but in a pretty picture book way – this stunning cathedral features spires that curve like the flames of a bonfire.

    Image: Francesco Vaninetti Photo/Getty Images


    The Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain

    Once a sprawling fortress that became the royal palace, the structure remains a prime example of stunning Moorish architecture.

    Image: Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock


    The Atomic Dome, Hiroshima, Japan

    This historic building serves as a memorial for those who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, and is a stark reminder of the ensuing devastation.

    Image: Luciano Mortula/Shutterstock


    Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

    Perfectly capturing the Romanticism architectural style of the 19th century, the Pena Palace features ornate towers, statues and brightly hued terraces.

    Image: Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock


    Cube houses by Piet Blom, Rotterdam, Netherlands

    Architect Piet Blom’s Cube houses came about when he set out to create a village within a city. Residents of the Cube houses opened up a sample 'show cube' for visitors to view and tour to stop the constant attention and curiosity.

    Image: JJFarq/Shutterstock


    Longaberger Company 'basket' office building, Ohio, USA

    When you have an office building shaped like the product you supply, you must be at The Longaberger Company headquarters in Ohio, USA. The company is a distributor of handcrafted maple wood baskets among other lifestyle products, and the whimsical design reflects its core business.

    Image: CJM Grafx/Shutterstock


    Chapel of Holy Cross, Yavapai County, Sedona, USA

    Built into a mountain, the church was voted by native Arizonans as one of Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona in 2007.

    Image: Fdevalera/Getty Images


    Museum of Contemporary Art, Niteroi, Brazil

    Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Rio de Janeiro, the museum overlooking Boa Viagem beach is shaped like a spaceship.

    Image: Ostill/Shutterstock


    Millau Viaduct, France

    Spanning the valley of the Tarn, Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge that is considered one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. The $628-million bridge is also the tallest in the world.

    Image: FraVal Imaging/Shutterstock


    Beijing Olympic Stadium (Bird's Nest), China

    The stadium that made news at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Bird’s Nest is constructed of a series of 1000-ton trussed columns and twisted steel, and is still considered a symbol of confidence and pride in China.

    Image: LU JINRONG/Shutterstock


    Wat Chaiwatthanaram temple, Ayutthaya, Thailand

    Built in the Khmer style in 1630, this ancient structure is part of the historic city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thailand and features reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Buddha.

    Image: Tortoon/Getty Images


    Casa Terracotta House, Colombia

    Is this the biggest piece of pottery in the world? The jury is still out on that but it probably is the only piece of pottery that's habitable too. This clay house is built over two floors with multiple rooms and furniture, all made from locally sourced clay.

    Image: Ostill/Shutterstock


    Astronomical Observatory, Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, India

    Located in close proximity to the Jaipur City Palace in Rajasthan, India, the Jantar Mantar - a UNESCO World Heritage site - features the world's largest stone sundial.

    Image: Kenneth Dedeu/Shutterstock

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