From Skyscrapers to an Ancient Intellectual Capital, Here 10 architectural wonders in the middle east
The Middle East contains some of the oldest and richest cultures, and if we’re speaking culture and history, then architecture is certain to follow! From Kuwait to Egypt, below are 10 of the Middle East’s architectural wonders, be it historically or modern.
Cobra Tower – Kuwait
The skyscraper is in Kuwait consists of of 41 floors and it’s height rocks the sky height with 218 meters. It’s a source of pride for Kuwait, and was constructed in 2009. Shaped like a cobra’s head and neck, with the nose pointing up towards the sky, this skyscraper was designed by British architect Ian Ritchie at a cost of an estimated $300 million and is home to many luxury apartments.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque – UAE
The first mosque in Abu Dhabi and among the largest mosques in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers inside the main prayer hall and is usually filled during prayers, and particularly during Eid. The mosque was built by the late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1992.
Museum of Islamic Arts – Qatar
This architectural wonder was constructed in 2008 and is housed in four buildings that date back to the 19th century. The design pays homage to traditional Arab architecture by using unique materials such as stained-glass windows, marble pillars, Arab geometric patterns, and tiles with calligraphy inscriptions. Considered to be one of Qatar’s wonders, its location on an island also makes it one of the Middle East’s architectural muses.
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center – Saudi Arabia
This center is dedicated to increasing the knowledge and understanding of the world petroleum industry and to raise public awareness of its importance and impact. The non-profit institution looks like an alien spaceship, and architects are in love with it!
Cayan Tower – UAE
Cayan Tower is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the first building with a hole on its exterior and is the world’s tallest twisting tower. Its design was mainly inspired by Islamic architecture of old Dubai, and with 73 floors and a height of 307 meters, the Cayan Tower is an urban gateway, as well as a visual guide to the city’s skyline.
Abraj Al Bait Towers – Saudi Arabia
The towers were opened on November 4th, 2012, coinciding with the first day of Hajj. A team of 41 construction companies collaborated on this project and the entire building consists of seven skyscraper hotels. Made to modernize the city of Mecca and with heights above 200 meters, and a massive clock on the top of the tower of 601 meters, the entire structure is one colossal piece of Islamic architecture.
World Trade Center – Bahrain
In the island nation of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf lies the World Trade Center which opened in 2007. The building has an office space for 10,000 workers as well as spacious meeting rooms. The Bahrain World Trade Center cost $150 million for its construction, go up to 240 meters high and is the first skyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines in its design.
Masrah Al Qasba Theatre – UAE
Masrah Al Qasba Theatre is a branch of the Sharjah Art Foundation which was set up in 2013 with the aim to promote arts and culture in the UAE. The center has three theatres that are dedicated to drama, music, and children’s theatre respectively. The auditorium is one of a kind. Being in the theater is an experience that has been described as being wrapped in a sculptural blanket.
Dormition Abbey & Church – Jerusalem
Built in 1910, the “Mother of all churches” has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times since its original construction due to its destruction by invading armies, the Persians in 614AD and the Romans in 70AD to name a few. According to tradition, this is the location where Mary ascended into heaven, making it one of the most important places in Christianity, and serves a vital symbolic significance in Jerusalem.
Great Library of Alexandria – Egypt
It goes back to 246 BC. The Great Library of Alexandria was the largest library of antiquity. It stood for over 900 years before it was destroyed by a fire. It consists of an enormous building that had limited windows and was filled with shelves that lined each wall from floor to ceiling, containing books on both sides. This intellectual juggernaut was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world, and was considered to be the capital of scientific and literary knowledge in the Mediterranean.