Every city has its own unique character, thanks to its landscape and the lifestyle of the people who live there.
Somfy, a tech company that creates home automation systems, asked people from countries around the world to share the view from outside their windows.
A set of fascinating stories came with each photo, giving a captivating view of what everyday life is like for people around the world.
We’ve put together a collection of images and stories that showcase the experience of 24 different individuals, from Janis, who is one of only a few residents of a small Latvian village, to Uros, who is mesmerised by Abu Dhabi’s nighttime skyline.
'I'm on the 26th floor of a 50 story building -- not too high and not too low: just right ... From here I can look over the whole city. My window faces east and every morning I feel like I'm looking at the best scenery ever, and it's never going to be any better than this. But then the night comes, and the view just pulls you in with a million colours and its New York-like soul. Sometimes I feel like I have a huge virtual reality screen and the scenery is changing just for me.' -- Uros
'My view makes me feel connected to a bustling, lively city, even though I live in the suburbs. I love that I can see the modern buildings that make up Bangkok as well as the cranes that are busily erecting the future iconic buildings of the city. At night, the lights twinkle and it's beautiful ... I've only been living here for 2 months, but I can see that it won't be long before I have new buildings to look up (at) and enchant me with their twinkling lights.' -- Gavin
'During spring and summer, the green of the trees breaks up the uniform pattern of the concrete apartment blocks. From 6 a.m. - 8 a.m. time slows down, there's little traffic, and the cool morning breeze goes perfectly with a fresh cup of coffee. This view represents my childhood, home, and love -- my girlfriend lives right across the street. Usually the evening is the best time to enjoy the view, especially during June when the Linden trees are in full bloom. The smell is incredible and it sweeps over the whole neighbourhood.' -- Cristian
'When I was a little girl, this view was of trees and grass, but now I see house after house, and far away the buildings merge into each other. Far away, on the left, I can see Concordia's Christ, the biggest monument in my country. I can hear cars passing by, the wind, and the little birds making noise on the roof … At sunset, the colours of the landscape look more beautiful than morning, and the wind picks up.' -- Veronica
'From my window I can see Ahu Tahai, the island's sunset spot, in the distance. This place makes me feel so calm, I can hear the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks and smell the sea breeze. I feel very lucky to be here, in the middle of the ocean. I love the peace and how calm this island makes me feel.' -- Juan
'I can see the salt fields from my window. My street is always windy, and most of the time it smells like the ocean. At the end of the street there is a walkway that goes along the river, where many people run and walk throughout the day. In the sky I can see storks, seagulls, and during the day I hear the swallows too. At night I can hear the crickets and the frogs. This view always makes me feel happy because it's quiet and peaceful -- it was actually one of the reasons I moved here. I love it.' -- Bruno
'I see tiny houses and roads around me throughout the day from a height. There are many people and vehicles going about their business, but I feel disconnected from them, as though I am watching a silent movie. I love to spend my time near the window, especially on a sunny day, but sunny days are few and far between here. As the sun sets, I can see lights flickering as though in a time lapse. As peaceful as it is, I miss waving a hand to a neighbour and hearing children play. At night as much as I love the silence, I wish I could sense some activity around to make me feel less isolated.' -- Manali
'I love that I live on a high floor, and I can see everything from a bird's perspective and how the scene is always moving. I hate the noise, though, and the man-made environment. I wish I could see the stars at night, but the city lights make that quite challenging. From my window I can see the center of my town and many different buildings, ranging from old abandoned houses to new modern office buildings and flats. I can see both a mosque and the biggest statue of Virgin Mary in the world. During the day I can hear the traffic from the boulevard nearby, but at night, thankfully, it gets quieter.' -- Christina
'There are around 25 stray cats on the street, and twice a day I hear the guard call out to them for food ... I hate the tangled mess of wires hanging from the street light, but these are so common in Pakistan that you eventually learn to ignore them. All year round, I hear street vendors shouting out advertisements of their wares as they push their carts from street to street, selling a wide variety of things -- from fruit and vegetables, to plastic buckets, to stove repairing expertise.' -- Hira
'This view reminds me that people never completely conquer nature, as the houses sink in the green of the trees and plants. Out of my window I can see most of the suburban part of the city. Even though I only live on the fourth flour, I overlook the other houses as they are only one or two stories high. On the horizon there's the TV-tower, which is the tallest construction in the city ... Also, most of those small houses in the view are heated by the stove or fireplaces, so in cold seasons you can see smoke rising.' -- Roman
'Crows patrol outside the century-old house we call home, a home that we are about to lose. We have to sell because the maintenance costs are rising day by day. From my window I can see the adjacent houses situated on the north side, I can hear my neighbours talking, the dogs barking, and there are birds that sing ... I love everything about it, this secret window and the unique view ... I hate the fact that most of the old houses in this neighbourhood are being replaced by new apartments. These old houses have been here since Calcutta was the capital of British India.' -- Debapriya
'I live at the very edge of the city, and all my windows face west, to the last few buildings. I look out over sky, birds, and beautiful sunsets all year long. I'm not sure anything except seasons will ever change here -- the view is just the same as it was ten years ago. Still, I could stand by my window all day long without getting bored. The air here is fresh and clean, it's nice and quiet without city noise, the sky is always beautiful, and sunsets are simply amazing. If I could, I'd keep this view forever.' -- Kristina
'I can see directly into a neighbouring apartment. I'm not sure how many people live there in total, it could be 3 or more. Sometimes I see a person cooking, other times opening or closing the window, but mostly I just hear them chatting and laughing. It's nice and lively … When it's dark, finally a cool breeze enters my apartment and brings in the smells of my neighbours cooking their dinners. Time to cook myself.' -- Sebastian
'Currently facing me is a huge block of local authority flats; but they're due for demolition soon. They're set to be replaced with a new block of flats … I have the great fortune (for London standards) of having an extremely large floor-to-ceiling window, with a door leading out on to the balcony. It's also east-facing, which means that on the days the sun does decide to come out in full-swing, brilliant light comes through in the mornings and afternoon. When the door's closed, I can't hear much, but when it's open in the summer, I hear all the hustle and bustle from the main road down below me.' -- Vicke
'From my window, I can see the typical urban kaleidoscope of structures which are sprouting up in my area. Across the roofs of my neighbours, I see the tall, lean building which has recently been constructed. It's the first of its kind to be erected in this area, but I am dead sure that a lot more will be constructed in the near future. I love taking comfort in this window after a long stressful day. During the rainy season, I can hear the splatters of rain on the metal roofs, which sometimes sound like a melody. At other times the sound of the rain reaches a crescendo, and then we know our streets are likely to flood.' -- Leandro
'From my window I can see into many others. The building opposite is close enough that I can see there are flowers in almost every apartment window. At night I can hear people laughing, and the sound of silverware on plates in the small cafe below. This sound combined with the twinkly lights makes me feel serene as the tempting aroma of their food wafts up to the open window. I can also hear a bell ringing in the nearby church and the sound of cars rushing by below. I love the activity and life on my street.' -- Danielle
'When I get up, the first thing I do is look out at my beautiful city. Most mornings I'll see my elderly neighbour as he drinks his coffee and smokes his cigarette on the terrace next to mine … I hear birds, I hear traffic, I hear my neighbours, but the view from my window always makes me feel better. This part of town is growing very fast, and there's a lot of changes every year, but I like those changes because they make my city look better. At the end of each day there's another beautiful view of my city, the sky turns dark blue and the clouds turn pink or red.' -- Dusan
'I live in a very small village next to the sea; there are only a few people left here. The streets are empty, it's very calm and quiet. My view is very lush, it's as if the plants want to make up for the lost time in winter and autumn. It's quite windy and the only sound I can hear is the trees swaying in the wind. I can smell the freshly cut grass from the lot next to me. My neighbour takes good care of it, as he wants to sell it; the land prices have been rising in the last few years. I feel very calm here, that is why I love it so much.' -- Janis
'I love where I live. It is fairly quiet as I live out in the countryside; however, I can see some cars here and there. I can see the neighbours play with their kids, dogs running around, birds flying, and I sure hear a lot of lawn mowers. I also see the mail arriving, and the school bus picking up and dropping off kids. Afternoons are the best because of the view. The sunsets are amazing; especially on a nice summer night. Winter can be just as amazing with the view of the snow-covered trees, grass, the road, with the beautiful sunset in the back.' -- Kacper
'Because the buildings neighbouring me are lower, from my window I have one of the best views of the city. If I turn my head to the left, I can see the Mediterranean Sea. It is far away, but from this vantage point, I can see it. If I turn my head to the right, I can see a mountain ridge which reaches more than 1000 meters …What I love most are the sunsets. Every day I can admire a great sunset, but on windy days (and this is a very windy place) the sunsets are unbelievable.' -- German
'Heavy traffic ceaselessly flows up and down this street. Vehicles and motorcycles of all shapes, sizes and colours. The noise of these vehicles is the first and last thing I hear every day. In the mornings I see the housewives washing clothes through the windows opposite me, and I hear the sound of dealers opening up their shops and cleaning vigorously. The activity of the dealers and housewives makes me feel optimistic for the new day, even though the vehicle noise makes me wake up early and feel sad.' -- Hachim
'From my window I can see the Colombian mountains laid out before me. This is the beginning of the dry season, so I can smell grass and horses, and hear birdsong. The landscape is very dramatic. It's in sharp contrast to the rainy season when it often rains for 24 hours or more at a time … The seasons here are so determinant in all aspects of life. But I feel very comfortable here, living very simply with just the basic things I need, and I love the people here, they are so friendly and helpful.' -- Juan
'From my window I can see many others, and each window has a story to tell. In the mornings you can see some smoking cigars, some in their bathrooms, and some are cooking. You can actually smell their food -- typically curry soup or sometimes fried dried fish … You can hear garbage collectors, grass cutting, children playing football, neighbours shouting and arguing, the MRT metro train passing, and aeroplanes flying. At nightfall, the house lights opposite come on one by one like watching Christmas lights.' -- Archie
'I love the view from my window because I can see my neighbourhood evolving. The large building has just been built, therefore we can see newcomers gradually selling in ... This neighbourhood is never truly quiet, as no matter which part of the day it is you can hear traffic, the neighbours and chickens and dogs making all kind of noises. When I come back home by the end of the day, before sunset, the view is very relaxing, as the orange sun illuminates the street. The view at night is breathtaking, as the city lights shine in the night sky.' -- Guillaume
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