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Architectural landmarks
  • It's been dubbed the world's most luxurious hotel and is the symbol of Dubai. The Burj Al Arab is set on its own island off the city's coast offering ultimate exclusivity for its wealthy and celebrity guests. Designed to resemble the shape of an Arabian dhow sail, the all-suite hotel represents Dubai's seafaring heritage and extravagant hospitality traditions. It's connected to the mainland by a bridge and some of the world-class facilities it boasts include a private beach, helicopter transfers and a round-the-clock butler service.

  • Australia's most iconic building, the Sydney Opera House is the epitome of great 20th-century architecture with its imposing white facade and unique shells design, and it's even been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The performing arts centre was designed by architect Jarn Utzon who won a competition to design a building for Sydney's national opera house. Inside, the large Concert Hall seats 2,679 people and there are various other performance theatres filling the space.

  • If you want to see some of the most amazing Roman architecture around, the Colosseum in Rome is the place to go. The amphitheatre was the largest ever built in the Roman Empire and dates back to 80AD. It was host to gladiatorial combats, public spectacles with wild beasts and executions, with seating for around 50,000 spectators. The Colosseum is partially ruined because of damage from Rome's past earthquakes but still remains the city's most treasured and popular landmark.

  • As one of the only Seven Wonders of the World to still exist, the Great Pyramids of Giza are still an emblem of the ancient world and Egypt's most well-known attraction. The pyramids are made up of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the smaller Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure. They were built over 40,000 years ago as monuments to the deaths of the pharaohs who ruled Ancient Egypt and for their embalmed bodies to be entombed beneath or within the pyramids, so they could be protected and allow for the transformation to the afterlife. Today you can visit the ancient pyramids and even go inside.

  • It may be shorter and lesser-known than the Empire State Building, but New York's Chrysler Building was once the world's tallest building for 11 months in 1930 before the Empire State Building was built. Its Art Deco-style spire makes it stand out from the other skyscrapers of Manhattan and the Chrysler is often considered as one of America's best architectural buildings. Architect Walter Van Alen designed the building for the Chrysler Corporation and was told to add some of the Chrysler cars' features to the building, which is why you'll find statues of gargoyles and eagles on the structure. At night, the Chrysler Building's crown lights up the New York sky and changes colour for different occasions.

  • It's seen as one of the best surviving examples of Byzantine architecture and Istanbul's Hagia Sophia has stood as a Roman Catholic cathedral, an Islamic mosque and now as a museum. Its interior is decorated with beautiful mosaics and marble pillars, and its dome has attracted the interest of many art historians and architects over the years for being the first of its kind to be designed using an innovative device to allow it to be placed on top of a square room. The structure's been rebuilt three times and its current state dates back to 537 when it was designed by Greek architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. Its most stunning features are the huge dome, the countless mosaics and the Marble Door inside the building.

  • Head to Bilbao in Spain where you can see some of top American architect Frank Gehry's work in the form of the Guggenheim Museum. The building will take your breath away with its innovative façade. The futuristic, twisty-turny metallic design reflects the cool in 20th-century architecture. The cutting-edge landmark is home to contemporary artwork by the likes of Andy Warhol, Yves Klein and Antoni Tàpies, and the building creates a spectacular backdrop for the city's La Salve Bridge, the estuary and the surrounding buildings.

  • It may lack the innovation and modernism of today's architecture, but the awe-inspiring, sacred Hindu and Buddhist temple of Angkor Wat is the world's largest religious building and dates back to the early 12th-century. The complex of temples is so significant that it features on Cambodia's national flag and was built by King Suryavarman II. It's made from sandstone, preserving the style of the Khmer period with its lotus bud-shaped towers and enchanting detail. The vast space it covers includes a moat and apparently 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants were used to construct the site.

  • It's set to be the tallest building in Western Europe and will redefine London's skyline, and The Shard is certain to be one of the capital's sought-after tourist attractions when it opens in summer 2012. The five-star Shangri-La hotel, an observatory with views of London and 40 miles beyond, world-renowned restaurants, residences and offices will fill the architectural structure that was designed by Renzo Piano as a vertical city that appears to float above ground and aims to create a vibrant public space around it.

  • With a mixture of Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural style, the white domed Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the most beautiful and recognised buildings in the world. Its perfect symmetry and imposing structure attracts over 3 million tourists every year and was even visited by the late Princess Diana who famously had her picture taken in front of the monument. Inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll find elaborate decor, calligraphy and the tombs of Emperor Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal in the 1600s) and his third wife Mumtaz Mahal. Outside, there are beautiful gardens, lawns and the famed reflecting pool where you can see the image of the Taj Mahal in the water.