Our world holds many wonders, both natural and man-made. When nature’s splendor and human ingenuity collide, the result can be spectacular and also bizarrely beautiful. Take a look at these intriguing buildings that ended up in some rather unexpected places.
Santuario Madonna della Corona - Italy
Those who suffer from a fear of heights may do well to view this chapel from a distance. Built into the vertical cliffside of Mount Baldo, the isolated building started off as a hermitage where holy men could come to escape in solitude. In the 1500s a chapel was constructed so the community could pray. The thin rock shelf on which it sits can be reached by an an even narrower path and a whole lot of stairs.
Dar al-Hajar - Yemen
A summer palace that looks as if it’s grown right out of the rock pinnacle it sits on has become one of the most photographed spots in Yemen. Every year, thousands of tourists come to the Wadi Dhahr Valley to stare at the unique structure and appreciate its distinctive white windows. The Imam (Islamic religious leader) responsible for the palace’s construction wasn’t popular with the people, but his residence certainly has become an icon of the region.
The Pearl - Qatar
With its ability to blend traditional souks with modern-day shopping malls, Doha is quickly becoming one of the most dynamic cities on the Persian Gulf. So much so that it even makes its own islands. This unusual configuration of buildings are located on a man-made strip of land in the city’s west bay. The collection is comprised of sleek residential towers, villas, hotels, and luxury stores. Its stunning location on the water, circular design and upscale prestige make its nickname, “the Pearl” very fitting.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral - Colombia
One hundred eighty meters below the earth’s surface in Zipaquira, Colombia, sits an ancient salt mine. And in the mine, a cathedral. One of only two salt cathedrals in the world, it holds fourteen mini chapels and one main prayer room adorned with simple wooden benches and a cross prominently displayed. The salt mine has been an active church since the 5th century B.C. and miners still use it to find solice today.
Lycian Tombs - Turkey
Ancient societies often prepared opulent monuments to honor the deceased, but the Lycians took their burials to a whole new level. Similar to these hanging tombs in the Philippines, they believed the souls of the dead would be transported to the afterworld by winged messengers, so they placed their tombs on top of or on the sides of cliffs for ease of access. The temple-like facades are decorated with Roman columns and a variety of bas reliefs depicting mythological creatures, funerary feasts and symbolic animal motifs. Some of the carvings look a little weathered, but we can’t really hold that against them considering they’ve been around since the 4th century B.C.
Songjiang Hotel - China
This five-star property is technically still under construction, but its incredible layout merits sharing regardless. The hotel is being built inside an old quarry, the bottom of which is 100 feet below sea level. On one side of the pit, a natural waterfall flows down, mirrored by a glass waterfall that seems to pour down the center of the hotel. Two of the 19 floors will be underwater and will boast a glass-walled aquarium, a restaurant and guest rooms all under the sea. As if that wasn't odd enough, they are also planning to build a lake at the base of the hotel that guests can use for water sports along with walls for rock climbing and bungee jumping.