Gothic grandeur in Paris
Supported by flying buttresses and sporting three 13th-century rose windows, Notre Dame Cathedral is an unmatched example of French Gothic architecture. Stroll to the sanctuary by the altar to seek out the 14th-century statue of Mary, the cathedral’s patron saint.
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Istanbul’s Byzantine glory
With its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, Istanbul is a shoo-in for top 10 historic building destinations in the world. The star is Hagia Sophia, built in the sixth century as a mosaic-covered basilica, transformed into a mosque in 1453 and now open to all visitors as a museum.
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Circular symmetry in Rome
The Pantheon has stunned onlookers for 2,000 years, and the Roman former temple still has the world’s largest concrete dome. It’s hard not to gasp when you catch your first glimpse of the soaring coffered dome, especially if sunshine or rain is streaming in through the roof’s central opening.
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World wonder in Agra
One of the new seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was built in the 1640s by Shah Jahan as a poignant symbol of his grief following the death of his wife. An exquisite example of Mughal architecture, the mausoleum’s white dome and minarets are best admired from the surrounding landscaped gardens.
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William the Conqueror’s London tower
Completed in 1100, the turreted White Tower still dominates the walled complex that makes up the Tower of London. Visit the Tower’s semi-circular Norman chapel, step on to Tower Green where Anne Boleyn was executed, and admire the glittering Crown Jewels.
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Onion domes in Moscow
Ivan the Terrible’s St Basil’s Cathedral stands in colourful contrast to the grey cobbles of Red Square and redbrick walled Kremlin. A warren of dark passages and steps links the nine simply decorated churches that make up St Basil’s, each topped by an individually patterned, candy-striped dome.
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Holiest site in Jerusalem
Delicately detailed Persian blue tiles cover the Dome of the Rock, and its gilded dome is the focal point of Temple Mount. Built at the end of the seventh century, Islam’s oldest building centres around the Rock of Moriah, sacred to Jews as the Holy of Holies and to Muslims as the place marking Mohammed’s ascent to heaven.
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