The most beautiful roofs in the world
Do you often find yourself looking up? Normally when visiting a place, we focus on their walls, doors, windows, elements that are usually at eye-level. However, there are places like the ones in this list that will have you looking up.
Centre Pompidou-Metz, Lorraine, France
Can you identify what inspired Japanese architect Shigeru Ban to make this design? If you thought of a traditional Chinese rice hat then you are correct! This is the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a museum of modern and contemporary art. It contains exhibits from the great collection of France’s National Museum of Modern Art and it is the greatest temporal exhibit space in France outside of Paris. The name surely reminds you of the original Centre Pompidou, located in the French capital which also has a very impressive design.
Solna centrum metro station, Stockholm, Sweden
Who said a metro station can’t be beautiful? The Stockholm government in Sweden decided to turn these public spaces into art. The Solna Centrum station is one of 14 that were decorated to delight its citizens. According to the work’s authors, Karl-Olov Björk and Anders Åberg, red is representing of sunset and the green represents the swedish forests. What do you imagine when you see this?
Castle of Sammezzano, near Florence, Italy.
A rainbow on a roof! Sadly, we can’t visit this beautiful Italian palace because it is under renovations, but we can still appreciate its beauty even from another continent.
It got all its colors in the 19th century when it came under possession of Nicholas Panciatichi, a botanist, bibliophile and businessman who was a fanatic of Arabic architecture and culture, so he decided to redesign it in this style. The Castle has 365 rooms, each one different from the other.
Vatican Museum, Vatican City
The long hallway you see in the picture is 120 meters long and yes, that is its roof. It belongs to the Gallery of Maps in the Vatican and its a passage that divides the Papal Palace from the Sistine Chapel (a space which most definitely deserves an honorific mention on this list).
The 40 panels each evoke the life of different saints, apostles, martyrs and other christian figures. What makes this roof even more impressive is that each one of the frescos has a direct relationship with map in the adjacent walls, so the artists Giorlamo Muziano and Cesare Nebbia chose the characters to be depicted very carefully.
Shah Cheragh, Shiraz, Iran
This is maybe one of the most beautiful funerary monuments in history. This mosque is home to the tombs of the brothers Ahmad and Muhammad, sons of Musa al-Kadhim, who took refuge in the city of Shiraz during the prosecution of Shia muslims.
“Shah Cheragh” means “king of light” in persian and the name comes from how the place was discovered. An ancient Ayatullah saw a light in the distance and one day decided to investigate. He Discovered that the light came from a tomb; when it was excavated, they found a body in armor. They later found out that the body belonged to one of the brothers and the monument was built on top of this tomb.
Nasir al-Mulk mosque, Shiraz, Iran
This mosque is also known as the pink mosque for the color of the tiles on its interior. It was built during the Qajar era between 1876 and 1888 and it’s close to Shah Cheragh.
Along with its impressive roof, its walls are made of stained glass that make the interior change colors as sunlight goes through them. This mosque is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover, since on the outside it may look like a regular mosque.
Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China
This is the roof of one of the halls of the Temple of Heaven in China: The hall of prayers and of good harvest. It was built during the Ming dynasty and finished by the Qing dynasty in 1420. It is an impressive 38 meters tall an no nails were used in its construction. You read that right: no nails, rather everything was fit together. That reminds us of other things that can also be fit together…
The vault represents the passing of the seasons and its colors are representative of joy, fortune, power and prosperity.
Gran Hotel, Ciudad de México, México
After going around the world, we return home and get some rest at the Gran Hotel in Mexico City. Originally a center for commerce, built in 1899 by a merchant named José de Teresa, it was the place where the first department stores in the city were opened.
It was made using the famous Chicago technique, using iron and concrete. Are you interested in visiting and taking a selfie with its beautiful colors? Don’t look for the entrance by the Zócalo, instead through 16 de Septiembre street.
These roofs are testament to how with creativity and imagination, we can make looking up an amazing activity.