Wednesday 22 October 2014

Top 10 city skylines revealed

Published 19/10/2012 | 14:47

Hong Kong city at night

There's nothing like landing at a city - either for the first time or after time away - and gazing out the plane window to catch a glimpse of its skyline. Online travel consultants Cheapflights.com offers its list of the top 10 city skylines.



1. Hong Kong

Packed with more skyscrapers and people living above the

14th floor (read: that makes it a 'vertical city') than any

other city on the planet, Hong Kong and its skyline are

transforming by the day. Towering across the impressive panorama

- best seen from above at Victoria Peak and below from Victoria

Harbour - is the HSBC Main Building, I. M. Pei's Bank of China

Tower and the International Commerce Centre (at 1,588 feet, the

last is the world's third-largest building). We don't anticipate

that high-rise construction in the neon-lit city will slow any

time soon, so keep an eye out for Hong Kong's latest

architectural wonders.

2. New York City, New York, USA

The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the

MetLife Building - need we go on? Manhattan's epic skyline is

synonymous with the diversity and possibility that echo through

New York City's gridded streets. Whether it's a view of the

Financial District from the Brooklyn Bridge or a look at Midtown

from the Hudson River, the Big Apple's stretch of landmarks,

from Brooklyn to the Bronx, is a recognizable sight to behold.

3. Sydney, Australia

There are few buildings more iconic than the Sydney Opera

House, so it's hard not to see it as the figurative centerpiece

of the clustered, modern skyline of Sydney. The distinctive

modernist roof of the multi-venue performance center (the UNESCO

World Heritage Site is not just for operas) looks like either a

series of shells or the sails of a vast schooner. Other

buildings - like 1 Bligh Street, Sydney Tower and MLC Centre -

similarly represent the best in world-class architecture, making

the skyline of Australia's largest city - which overlooks the

historic and beautiful Sydney Harbour - unforgettable.

4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Its defining landmark is one of the New Seven Wonders of the

World, so it should come as no surprise that Rio's skyline made

our cut. Is there a more iconic monument than the city's Christ

the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Mountain? Rio covers a

stretch of Brazil's Atlantic Coast that blends natural wonders

seamlessly with man-made achievements. Millions live together in

the socioeconomically divided city, which has preserved churches

and buildings since the 1500s. The dichotomies of the skyline

and the people - old and new, rich and poor - are the pulse of

Rio de Janeiro.

5. Paris, France

Utterly flat compared to our other picks, Paris owes its

top-10 worthiness mostly to its landmarks that romantically dot

the City of Light's cityscape. After one visit to Sacré C÷ur

Basilica at the top of Montmartre - complete with an aerial view

of a glistening skyline, poetically interrupted by the Eiffel

Tower - travelers seem to understand the magic of Paris. Trace

its broad boulevards - from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs

Elysées to Concorde and the Musée du Louvre - and admire the

city's urban planning feats.

6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Spurred by oil revenues, Dubai's growth has accelerated

rapidly in the last 15 years and its skyline reflects that. Its

numerous tall and slender buildings - many of which were

completed in just the last five years - look from a distance

like man-made stalagmites jutting up from the desert floor.

Buildings like the Burj Khalifa (by far the tallest building in

the world) and the Burj al Arab (built on its own artificial

island) combine state-of-the-art modern architecture with design

cues pulled from both nature and Islamic heritage, helping to

give Dubai's skyline its distinctive visage.

7. Chicago, Illinois, USA

Though its winters force residents into hibernation for four

months of the year, the Second City comes alive in warmer months

when pale Chicagoans come out to play. A boat trip on Lake

Michigan provides a perfect view of folks running and biking

along Lakeshore against a skyline marked by the Willis (formerly

Sears) Tower, the Hancock Building and Navy Pier. For an

up-close look at Chicago's skyline, take an architectural boat

tour; volunteers expertly detail the skyline's history since the

Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that destroyed over three square

miles of the city.

8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

There's something particularly majestic about Kuala Lumpur's

defining skyscrapers, the Petronas Towers. Malaysia Truly Asia,

as the tourism board's tagline goes, is a wonder of

multiculturalism, awe-inspiring landscapes and white-sand

islands (our picks are Langkawi and Borneo). But Kuala Lumpur,

one of the fastest growing cities in the area, quickly gives

visitors a faster paced perspective on the country. The Petronas

and Kuala Lumpur towers both illuminate each evening, providing

a taste of what's to come in this cultural mecca.

9. Shanghai, China

Many of China's cities boast impressive skylines packed with

a seemingly endless number of skyscrapers. (Honorable mentions

go to Macao, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Beijing - you get

it.) But it's Shanghai's eclectic skyline that stands out from

the crowd. The most populous city proper in the world also has

one of the most distinctive skylines, featuring Art Deco, Soviet

neoclassical and traditional Jiangnan architecture. Reaching

higher - and more grandly - than most are the Shanghai World

Financial Center (1,614 feet), Jin Mao Tower (1,380 feet) and

the Sci-Fi looking Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower (1,535 feet).

10. Moscow, Russia

Moscow's skyline is a reflection of the capital city's

extensive history. Dominated by quintessentially Russian

landmarks like the onion domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral and

the Seven Sisters, seven massive skyscrapers positioned equal

distance from the Kremlin (not to mention the Kremlin itself),

Moscow's skyline is unparalleled. Many travelers to the city

take note that the skyline seems like a throwback to hundreds of

years ago, as little of the new architecture has garnered as

much prestige in recent years.

Reuters

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