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Architectural splendours

Artistry is displayed on the grandest scale in the creation of vast buildings or even whole cities. Take a journey through five of the most impressive structures ever created by the human hand.

300 BCE

Architectural splendours

Petra

One of the most spectacular civilisations in all of human history flourished at Petra in Jordan, where the Nabataeans carved elaborate structures out of the very mountains themselves.

12th Century

Architectural splendours

Angkor Wat

The vast temple complex of Angkor Wat, built by the Khmer civilisation, is religious art at its most impressive.

1616

Architectural splendours

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The grandest mosque in Istanbul is adorned with some of the most extraordinary examples of monumental calligraphy in the Islamic world.

1626

Architectural splendours

St Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Michelangelo did not live to see his architectural masterpiece completed but its cupola is still the tallest dome in the world.

1628

Architectural splendours

I’timād-ud-Daulah

Built a decade before the Taj Mahal, the I’timād-ud-Daulah was commissioned by Nur Jahan, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, as a mausoleum for her father. For Simon Schama, it is the most perfect building in India.