There are many works of architecture and grand buildings across the world that will have you gazing up at them in wonder. But the ones that prove the most interesting are those that hold a part of a city’s culture at their hearts.
We’re taking a look at five breathtaking cultural buildings across Europe.
Basilica di San Marco – Venice, Italy
Basilica di San Marco is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It’s not only the religious centre of a great city, but also an expression of the political, intellectual, and economic aspiration and accomplishments of a city that, for centuries, was at the forefront of European culture.
Covered in beautiful golden mosaics on the outside and extraordinary paintings and colourful mosaics on the inside, Basilica di San Marco is a monument dedicated not just to the glory of God, but also to the glory of Venice.
Kilmainham Gaol – Dublin, Ireland
Kilmainham Gaol (Jail) is one of the largest unoccupied jails in Europe. It was involved in some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s history and its emergence as a modern nation from the 1780s to the 1920s.
When it was built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was referred to as the ‘New Gaol’ to distinguish it from the old gaol it was designed to replace. Over the 128 years it served as a prison, its cells held many of the most famous people involved in the campaign for Irish independence. The British imprisoned and executed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising here including Padraig Pearse, Joseph Plunkett and Thomas Clarke.
La Sagrada Família – Barcelona, Spain
The breathtaking La Sagrada Família was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. This extraordinary building is unlikely to be finished before 2026. Given that construction began in 1882, this is clearly the work not just of a singular and devoutly religious architect, but of several determined generations of dedicated professionals and enthusiasts.
When the final stone is set in place, the Sagrada Família will be the world’s tallest church, soaring 560-ft (170-m) above the Catalan capital. It will also be the strangest looking and possibly the most controversial place of worship ever built on such an epic scale.
Chichén Itzá – Cancún, Mexico
The stepped pyramids, temples, sinkholes, columned arcades and other stone structures that now remain unfinished. Everything in the brilliant ruins of Chichén Itzá was sacred to the Maya, and is evidence of a dazzling and beautiful ancient city that once was an urban centre of their empire from 750 A.D. to 1200 A.D.
Viewed as a whole, the incredible complex is one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. The fusion of both the Mayan construction techniques and new elements from central Mexico, make Chichén Itzá one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilisation in Yucatán.
Not only is it a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its integrity and authenticity, but it’s also one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Bernera Museum – Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Bernera Museum has been standing for around eight to ten years. It has displays of historical interest to Great Bernera and a large collection of genealogical reference material.
The collection comprises some 500 artefacts which illustrate the domestic, economic, cultural and religious life. One of the most interesting things about the museum is that it was mother nature that unearthed most of the artefacts that are now sacred to locals. It is also one of the only museums that holds artefacts from (and shows the life of) those who lived on St Kilda.