30 architectural masterpieces everyone should see in their lifetime

Buildings may be some of the most impressive works of art we have.

After sinking untold sums of money into their construction, we can walk through the finished products and even live inside them.

Here are some of the most ambitious projects from architects around the world, and whose works span thousands of years.

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30 architectural masterpieces from around the world
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30 architectural masterpieces from around the world

The oldest building we know of is Göbekli Tepe in present-day Turkey. Built somewhere around 9500 B.C., archaeologists aren't certain of its function, but it was probably religious.

(Photo via Teomancimit / Wikimedia Commons)

This is DigitalGlobe overview satellite imagery of Gobekli Tepe -- an archaeological site atop a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)

Since then, humans have built some pretty rad structures. In the past year, we've seen futuristic openings like the Fulton Center in New York ...

(Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

... and the Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, is a stunning structure that seems to have been dropped right in the middle of the Amritsar River. It is the center of the Sikh Faith, and it's lustrous at night.

(Photo via Getty Images)

An illuminated with new LED lights Golden Temple reflecting divine view in combination with moon on the eve of birth anniversary of Guru Ram Das, Founder of the holy city, Amritsar, on October 6, 2017 in Amritsar, India. (Photo by Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Las Lajas Sanctuary in Narino, Colombia, is equally mystifying. It looks like it defies gravity.

(Photo credit should read LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

The modernist architect Antoni Gaudí didn't live to see his Sagrada Família completed — in fact, it's still being built. The exterior looks like something out of Narnia ...

(Photo by Rubén Chase Carbó via Getty Images)

... and the interior is even more surreal.

(Photo via Getty Images)

The Flatiron Building in New York was one of the first skyscrapers ...

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

... as was the moody Woolworth Building, which was the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930.

(Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

In Onomichi, Japan, couples frequently turn to the Ribbon Chapel for their wedding ceremonies — and understandably so.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

Also surrounded by green is the Light of Life Church in Seoul, South Korea.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

On the inside, the church looks completely different.

(Photo via World Architecture Festival)

Chicago's Marina City apartments are, to say the least, uniquely designed. Built in 1964, they were one of the first mixed-use buildings and the first to be built with a crane in the US.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Not all impressive buildings need to scrape the sky. The Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki is built into a rock underground and still gets lots of sunlight.

(Photo by The Photo Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

The Church of St. George in Lalibela, Ethiopia, was carved out of a single stone in the 12th century.

(Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Some of the most beautiful buildings integrate into their landscape. The Turninn building in Reykjavík reflects the wild beauty of Iceland.

The modernist master Mies van der Rohe used minimal lines and open space to create buildings that seemingly float in the air around them, like the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, built in the 1960s.

(Photo by Sch�ning/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Berlin is also home to the Mecca of electronic music: the brutalist masterstroke Berghain.

(Photo by Emilija Manevska via Getty Images)

Integration into the surrounding environment is one of the oldest ideals of architecture. The old Japanese capital Kyoto features the breathtaking Golden Pavilion ...

(Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)

... and the more subtly stunning Silver Pavilion.

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

The Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali is the largest mud-built structure in the world — it can hold 3,000 worshippers.

(Photo by: Andia/UIG via Getty Images)

The whimsical Pompidou Center in Paris is a postmodern masterwork: It gleefully displays the guts of the building.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Built around 1200, the Chartes Cathedral in northern France is a primary example of Gothic architecture. Notice the ornate "portals" that you enter into the building through ...

(Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)

... and the stunning inside.

(Photo by Sergio Gaudenti/Sygma via Getty Images)

Perhaps the only house of worship that can match its grandeur is the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, built in the early 1600s at the height of the Ottoman Empire.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Its interior features more than 20,000 handmade tiles.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Neuschwanstein Castle in the German state of Bavaria reportedly inspired Walt Disney to create Sleeping Beauty's castle. It's easy to see why.

(Photo by Brian Lawrence via Getty Images)

Trinity College in Dublin is a gem of a university.

(Photo via Getty Images)

It has the prototypical library, the most stunning section of which is called, fittingly enough, the Long Room.

(Photo by Marc Lechanteur via Getty Images)

The Imperial Palace — aka the Forbidden City — is the ultimate form of high Chinese architecture. It was the seat of government from 1420 to 1912.

(Photo by Sean Pavone via Getty Images)

Today, some of the most experimental modern architecture in the world is being built in Beijing, like the CCTV Tower, locally known as "The Trousers."

(Photo by CaoWei via Getty Images)

With Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the late Zaha Hadid did what she could only ever do — turn the hard, clean lines of modernism into something organic.

(Photo via 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr)

Perched high in the Peruvian Andes, Machu Picchu is the best example we have of Incan architecture. Archaeologists say it was built around 1450.

(Photo by Renzi Tommaso via Getty Images)

Opened in 2007, the Parque Biblioteca España in Medellín, Colombia, was designed by the Colombian architect Giancarlo Mazzanti. The three buildings are meant to look like stones.

(Photo by SajoR via Wikimedia Commons)

Sydney's Opera House is the rightful ambassador of Australian architecture.

(Photo via Getty Images)

Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and opened in 1973, it has become a literal canvas of public expression.

(Photo via Getty Images)

The al-Qarawiyyin university, library, and mosque were founded by Fatima El-Fihriya in 859 — around the time early forms of algebra were being invented.

(Photo by Izzet Keribar via Getty Images)

Only a month after it re-opened to the public in June 2016, after more than 1,000 years of dormancy, visitors from all over the world are already flocking to glimpse a piece of history.

(Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
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Drake Baer contributed to an earlier version of this article.Wikimedia Commons

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SEE ALSO: 16 of the most beautiful schools in the world

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