Americans pioneered the art of building spectacular skyscrapers in the early 20th century. While towers are still going up in American cities, the real building boom is taking place in international cities that have seen their populations explode in recent years. Dubai alone has built almost two-dozen buildings the size of the Empire State Building in the past 15 years. We found the following images of skylines from around the world unusual or intriguing for various reasons.
10. Doha, Qatar
This looks almost like an image from a 1970s sci-fi movie, with weird structures towering over aliens on another world. This is actually part of the skyline of Doha, Qatar, overlooking the Museum of Islamic Arts Park. The population in this Middle Eastern city stood at around 14,000 in the 1950s. An oil boom has fueled an influx of wealth that has boosted the population to more than 800,000.
Singapore is aglow for the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix. A large crowd is gathered in the area at center for a concert. The city hosted the first night race in F1 Grand Prix history in 2008; it became such a success other F1 venues have added night races.
8. Brisbane, Australia
Brisbane is less than half the size of better-known Australian cities Sydney and Melbourne, but with 2.1 million residents, the city has seen the rise of an impressive skyline in recent years. Photographer Yuri Trusov took these images over a 30-minute period during a storm late in 2015.
Boat and vehicle traffic leaves light trails behind in this shot of Bangkok at dusk. That’s the Taksin Bridge crossing the Chao Phraya River.
OK, so this isn’t a skyline shot of Moscow. But it’s one of the most interesting city photos we’ve seen from the International Space Station. This shot is from an altitude of about 240 miles. The solar array panel at left is a nice touch, and on the horizon beyond Moscow you can see both the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) as well as approaching dawn.
It goes without saying that skyscrapers were a product of the First World. They have since spread to many other developed nations. But Africa and South America have been left behind. The two continents combined only have five buildings taller than 700 feet. Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, probably has the most impressive skyline on either continent. Still, the skyline is dwarfed by the Cordillera de la Costa coastal mountain range.
The 400-foot-tall Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is now a prominent feature of the Dallas skyline from certain angles. The bridge opened in 2012.
The Lotte World Tower dominates this night photo of Seoul a few months before the building topped out at 123 stories. At 1,824 feet, this “supertall” skyscraper (defined as any building over 300 meters, or 984 feet, in height) will be the sixth-tallest building in the world when it opens in 2016. Here’s how fast giant skyscrapers are being built: five buildings taller than the Lotte World Tower are scheduled for completion by 2020.
Shanghai is the most populated city on Earth, with almost 25 million residents. But this city with ancient traditions has an ultra-modern skyline, including the 1,535-foot tall Oriental Pearl Tower, a TV tower (at left). It includes a hotel and 15 observation levels.
You’ve probably seen images of the Dubai skyline featuring the towering Burj Khalifa, at 2,722 feet the tallest structure in the world. Here’s a spectacular shot from the Burj Khalifa looking down at Dubai, with the rest of the skyline poking through the cloud cover. Petrodollars have totally transformed Dubai’s skyline in the past 20 years. Dubai has 24 buildings over 1,000 feet tall, more than any other city in the world; all have been completed since 1999.