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.
Business Insider has selected 30 buildings that push the boundaries of structural expression. We think you’ll love them.
Drake Baer contributed to an earlier version of this article.
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.
Since then, humans have built some pretty incredible structures. In the past couple years, we've seen futuristic openings like the Fulton Center in New York ...
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, is a stunning structure that seems to have been dropped right in the middle of the Amritsar River.
If you can stomach the journey there, the Taktsang Palphug Monastery is a worthy destination. It is tucked away on a rockface in Bhutan's Paro Valley.
The Las Lajas Sanctuary in Narino, Colombia, is equally mystifying. It looks like it defies gravity.
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 ...
... as was the moody Woolworth Building, which was the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930.
In Onomichi, Japan, couples frequently turn to the Ribbon Chapel for their wedding ceremonies -- and understandably so.
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.
But not all buildings need to scrape the sky. The Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki is built into a rock underground and still gets lots of sunlight.
The Church of St. George in Lalibela, Ethiopia, was carved out of a single stone in the 12th century.
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.
Integrating into the environment is one of the oldest ideals of architecture. The old Japanese capital Kyoto features the breathtaking Golden Pavilion ...
The Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali is the largest mud-built structure in the world -- it can hold 3,000 worshippers.
Not to be outdone, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, located in Abu Dhabi, opened 10 years ago and has become the premier place of worship in the UAE.
The whimsical Pompidou Center in Paris is a postmodern masterwork: It gleefully displays the guts of the building.
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 ...
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.
Neuschwanstein Castle in the German state of Bavaria reportedly inspired Walt Disney to create Sleeping Beauty's castle. It's easy to see why.
It has the prototypical library, the most stunning section of which is called, fittingly enough, the Long Room.
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.'
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.
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 ...
From inside the library, in the Santo Domingo Savio neighbourhood, the view is of Medellín itself, in a valley surrounded by the Andes.
Sydney's Opera House is the rightful ambassador of Australian architecture. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and opened in 1973, it has become a literal canvas of public expression ...
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.