A city skyline is a silhouette that an urban center’s buildings create against the surrounding landscape. The skyline is the image of a city and suggests its economic importance. Skylines have long been the subject of famous photography, attracting the attention of investors, new residents, and even tourists. Each city has its own, unique skyline. Below is a look at some of the most beautiful skylines in the world.
12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -
The skyline in Rio de Janeiro is beautiful because it is set against an Atlantic Ocean harbor. The harbor has a unique shape and is dotted with hilly islands. The city is bordered by rolling, bluish green mountains and endless, sandy beaches. Perhaps the most famous piece of its skyline is the famous, white statue of “Christ the Redeemer” which stands tall on a mountain high above the city, looking out over everything. Visitors and residents can also see the statue from nearly every location below.
11. Paris, France -
The Eiffel Tower stands out against the Paris skyline. It is surrounded by a rectangle of green landscaping and sits in the middle of a sea of city blocks filled with gray buildings. In the distance, the city center skyscrapers rise up but do not surpass the Eiffel Tower in height. It appears that the city was built around the Eiffel Tower with the city center providing the perfect backdrop.
10. Vancouver, Canada -
Vancouver, Canada is next on the list for its beautiful skyline. Not only did the city planners put thought into the physical appearance of this city, but also the city residents' quality of life, being one of the most livable cities in the world. Its buildings follow the natural curves of the river, and it is backed by snow-covered mountains. The 62-story Living Shangri-La building towers over the other skyscrapers here. It is a mixed-use building with both a hotel and condos.
9. Singapore -
The skyline of Singapore is beautiful because of its colorful lights which are reflected in the surrounding water. Some of the unique buildings that make up this skyline are One Raffles Place (918 feet tall), Republic Plaza (918 feet), United Overseas Bank Plaza One (918 feet), Capital Tower (833 feet), and the Marina Bay Tower (803 feet). The Marina Bay Tower is the most famous of these tall buildings and is the most expensive building in the world, $5.7 billion.
8. Seattle, US -
The Seattle skyline has been the subject of many photographic projects, including calendars, postcards, and souvenirs. It is unique in that it sits within the Puget Sound and is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains. The most recognizable feature of this skyline is the Space Needle, a 605-foot observation tower. The observation deck is shaped like a disk and houses the SkyCity Restaurant. This restaurant rotates around the tower and offers visitors a 360° view of the city and Mt. Rainier in the backdrop.
7. London Skyline -
The wide variety of architectural styles renders London’s skyline one of the most beautiful in the world. The buildings here reflect centuries of architecture, ranging from historical to modern. Some of the most famous elements in the London skyline include Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster, the London Eye, and the Gherkin. These buildings provide a glimpse into the city’s urban development history and progress.
6. Shanghai, China -
Shanghai in China offers its visitors and residents one of the most beautiful skylines. This skyline has experienced considerable growth over the last two decades. Over 7,000 new buildings over 11 stories tall have been added to keep up with rampant population growth. Today, Shanghai is the most populated cities in the world with around 24 million people. The tallest building in its skyline is the 101-floor Shanghai World Financial Center. The most recognized, however, is the Oriental Pearl Tower which has 11 spheres, a revolving restaurant, and an impressive light display at night.
5. Los Angeles, US -
Los Angeles is most commonly known as the home of Hollywood. Additionally, when people think of LA, they are more apt to think of urban sprawl than beautiful skylines. However, the skyline here is quite striking due to the San Gabriel mountains in the background. The tallest buildings are clustered in one central location with the US Bank Tower hovering over them at 1,018 feet.
4. New York, US -
One of the most photographed skylines in the world belongs to New York City. Located on the Hudson Bay, this city skyline includes some of the most famous buildings and monuments in the world. The Empire State Building seems to stand at the center of it all, while the financial district’s 104-story One World Trade Center is the tallest. In addition, the harbor is home to the Statue of Liberty, a global symbol of freedom.
3. Dubai, UAE -
Dubai is known for its unique and cutting edge architecture. Its skyline is no exception. Dubai has more skyscrapers standing at 820 feet or more than anywhere else in the world. The most impressive and iconic of these is the Burj Khalifa. This building is the world’s tallest manmade structure, with 163 floors at 1,918 feet. Including its spire, the Burj Khalifa rises to 2,722 feet.
2. Toronto, Canada -
The largest city in Canada, Toronto, is also home to one of the most beautiful skylines. It lines the shores of Lake Ontario, creating a colorful reflection at night. Everything from sports stadiums to towers makes up this iconic skyline. The most recognizable of these buildings is the CN Tower, a communication and observation tower which stand at 1,815 feet and 5 inches. It was once the tallest structure in the world until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was built.
1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -
The Kuala Lumpur skyline is made up of a wide array of architectural styles, including Asian, Malay Islamic, modern, and postmodern. The most famous of its buildings are the Petronas Twin Towers. They were built to look like rockets and stand at 1,486 feet, making them the tallest twin towers in the world.
Which Cities Have the Best Skylines?
Some of the world's best skylines include that of New York, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Rio.
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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