50 of the most stunning photos of cities around the world

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These photos prove that there’s more to a city than just its skyscrapers. @karaemurphy/Agora Images
  • Agora, a free photography app, revealed the top 50 finalists of its #Urban2020 photography contest, which celebrates the best urban photos.
  • #Urban2020 had more than 21,322 submissions from photographers around the world.
  • The images show each photographers’ vision of what an urban landscape is. Everything from skylines to metro systems to aerial views of a city were among the finalists.
  • To decide who will be the #Urban2019 hero, voting is open until January 9, 2020.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.


A photographer captured this geometric staircase in an apartment building in Rome.

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According to the photographer, the building didn’t have an elevator. @wunderbilder/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Pink beauty” shows another staircase, this one in Munich, Germany. The photographer told Agora that he had to go up and down the stairs many times to capture its different angles.

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The sweeping staircase makes an arresting image. @frankseltmann/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Many photographers captured the sun over cityscapes. For “A lonely morning in London,” the photographer took a picture of the sun rising behind the Tower Bridge.

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The sun rising over London. @joelfriend/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


For the photo “Urban sunset,” the photographer visited a popular spot in Munich, Germany, that has stunning views of the sunset.

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People watch the sunset in Munich. @msubirats/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Sunrise in the city” is another nominee taken at a train station in Germany. The photographer took this shot as he was observing the people around him waiting for the train.

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‘Sunrise in the city’ was taken at the train station Dresden Hauptbahnhof in Germany. @tobboh/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Scenes of the hustle and bustle of urban spaces are in a few of the nominated photos. This photographer purposely blurred the subjects in the photo “Urban” to demonstrate the fast-paced environment.

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The blurred subjects demonstrate the urban lifestyle. @birazhayalci/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This photographer finalist told Agora that when he took this photo, his intentions were to show the bustling energy of London turning from day to night.

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Saint Paul’s Cathedral can be seen in the background of this London shot. @theliamman/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Tokyo Vibes” shows the very busy streets of Tokyo on a rainy day. “The blue colour, the neon, the tones, and rain make it a real urban shot,” the photographer told Agora.

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This photo shows the bustling streets of Tokyo. @cunodebruin/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Mind The Gap” was taken late at night on the London tube. “It’s a stark difference to the hustle and bustle of the day,” the photographer told Agora.

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The photographer took this photo of the train in motion late at night. @_kennyc_/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Untitled” showcases Saigon’s chaotic evening rush hour.

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This image depicts the chaotic feel of Saigon, Vietnam’s biggest city. @anhtrungqng/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Some photos gave an unconventional look at city life. “Abandoned skating” was taken by a young photographer in an abandoned chemical factory, where shattered glass littered the ground.

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This photo was taken in an abandoned chemical factory. @benskaar/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This aerial view captures a park in the heart of a city. The photo, titled “SYMMETRICAL URBAN,” also shows the symmetry of the landscape.

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Aerial views was another common theme. @i.ride.to.drone/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This aerial view shot, “Ship city,” was taken in the photographer’s hometown of Dhaka in Bangladesh. He told Agora that the vessels in the photo “are used to transport bricks, sand, and other goods.”

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This shot shows the urban landscape of vessels. @azimronnie/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


A Brussels-based photographer told Agora that he captured this photo in Gold Coast, Australia, and said “urban isn’t just about cities and skylines, it’s also about the integration of urban and nature.”

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This photo shows the combination of an urban landscape and nature. @johandroneadventures/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This picture, titled “Night court press,” shows the simplicity of a sports game amidst the bustling city of Hong Kong.

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A sports court in a busy city. @thedronelad/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Churrería de guardia” captured a traditional churros stand on a dark winter night in an unknown location.

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The photo is of a churro stand, submitted by a Romanian photographer. @danilupea/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Several photos of colourful buildings were submitted to the contest. This photographer took the photo “Untitled” while sailing on the Nile River in Egypt.

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Vibrant coloured buildings were seen throughout this contest. @banudiker/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


The photographer behind “Urban Living” told Agora that this building in Bratislava, Slovakia, reminded her of a Tetris game.

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This building looks like a Tetris game, according to the photographer. @zuzijanek/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


According to Agora, this photographer waited until it was dark to photograph these residential buildings in Odaiba, Tokyo, so he could capture the “genius of the architecture.”

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This photo of residential buildings was taken at night. @angiolomanetti/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This image features a colourful building in the historic capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi.

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A red building was the subject in this submission. @damiane/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“The Block” is a photo of the iconic architecture in Bilbao, Spain. According to Agora, the photographer calls his photo “a block of houses in which human activity is manifested in the image.”

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This photo shows the architecture in Bilbao, Spain. @ajuriaguerra/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Photos of skylines and individual buildings, such as “Hotel W,” was one of the main themes among the nominees. This photo is inspired by the iconic hotel in La Barceloneta, Spain.

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Photos of buildings were common among the nominees. @javito80/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


For the image “Gotham City,” the photographer used a drone on a cloudy day to capture an eerie image of a skyscraper in Chicago.

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‘Gotham City’ is an aerial view of Two Prudential Plaza in Chicago. @karaemurphy/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


The finalist “Look up!” was taken in Stockholm while the photographer was covering Greta Thunberg’s march “Fridays for Future.” He told Agora he “wanted to transmit the moody feeling of the modern world we live in.”

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The perfectly-timed photo was taken in Stockholm. @leowillgo/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


The image “International Children’s Library” was taken in Ueno City, Tokyo. The photographer said it was challenging to take the picture because of all the mirrors on the building.

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This photo was of the side of a building was taken in Tokyo. @diselpower_gallery/Agora Images

“Myriad” shows how futuristic and complex Brisbane in Australia looks. According to Agora, the photographer used a drone to capture this image above an intertwining highway with the city skyline in the background.

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This photo is of Brisbane in Australia. @dlr/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This photographer captured the nominated image “Nightscape in Rome” by taking two separate photos at different times in the same location.

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It took two images to create this photo. @henrydo/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Sinking in the fog” is a foggy view of Moscow, Russia.

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Fog envelops Moscow in this haunting photo. @borsch/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This image, titled “City of gold,” shows Dubai’s skyline and is one of the only panoramic shots in the contest.

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Dubai has a beautiful skyline. @patriciasoon/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


The photographer behind the award-nominated photo “Stockholm” wanted to show the contrast of the snow surrounding a bright, twinkling city, according to Agora.

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This photo shows the city of Stockholm. @tom.bridges/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Organised Chaos” is an aerial image of the busy streets of Hong Kong.

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This shot shows the bustling city of Hong Kong. @leemumford8/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Transamerica Vertigo” is a photo of San Francisco’s skyline.

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This is an interesting shot of San Francisco’s skyline. @niroshan_a/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Cybertron City” is a photograph of Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. “I wanted to convey this in my image: the electric feel and futuristic aesthetic of the city,” the photographer told Agora.

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There were a lot of photos of Dubai in this contest. @donaldhyip/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


This photo, titled “Two opposed worlds,” shows a beautiful sky hovering over buildings that are sitting on the water.

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The sky and buildings make for a beautiful combination. @hadangkhoa/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Trapped” is a snapshot of Hong Kong. The photographer told Agora the goal was to make the viewer feel like they were trapped in the city.

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This photo gives the feeling of being trapped in a city. @laboussole.seon/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Vessel” is a photo of New York City’s Vessel landmark that opened in early 2019.

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This photo is of the Vessel structure in New York City. @ericc_photography/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Another photo of the Vessel in NYC, “Urban” shows a serene sky surrounded by the new urban structure.

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The photo shows another unique view from the centre of NYC’s Vessel landmark. @pifpie/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Some other photos in the contest were of miscellaneous scenes. “Saigon Vietnam” captures two women working on the Saigon’s new metro line.

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The vibrant yellow colour stands out in this photo. @nguyenvuphuoc/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


The photographer of the photo “Social life” reflects the reality of how people are currently living in a modern, urban environment. The photo was taken at the Tate Modern in London.

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‘Social life’ shows today’s modern, urban living. @olegp/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Some submissions were black and white images such as “Eyeshape.” These photos showed the photographer’s own take on an urban image.

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The photographer had their own version of an urban landscape. @marcelvanbalken/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Nominee “Radioactive” was taken in Charleroi, Belgium. The photographer described this area to Agora as “one of the most famous spots in Belgium for urban exploration.”

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‘Radioactive’ was taken in Charleroi, Belgium. @notanothermica/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Another black-and-white photo in the contest is finalist “Gótico profundo.” It was taken in the streets of Barcelona, Spain, and the photographer said he spent an hour in the same place to capture the light in this photo.

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This photo was taken in the streets of Barcelona. @paulaaranoa/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Those eyes” was taken in the streets of Yerevan, Armenia. In the photo, what looks like a man’s eyes are actually little stones that were in the water when the photographer captured the photo, according to Agora.

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‘Those eyes’ is a unique black-and-white photo. @alicesukiasyan/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


According to the photographer, this picture (titled “Standing Strong”) shows “an urban setting that depicts the struggle and strength of both nature and man, and how this can lead to growth and success.”

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In this photo, a flower is growing out of concrete. @øystein/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Another common theme in the urban contest were photos of different cities’ transit systems. “Chicago’s Metro Transport” is a photo of the photographer’s son riding the CTA metro train in Chicago.

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A boy riding Chicago’s CTA metro train. @hwilson8/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Finalist “Stockholm, Sweden” is of one of Stockholm’s beautifully designed metro stations

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A metro station in Stockholm. @leo.wies/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


“Underground'” is another nominated photo of Stockholm’s subway, also known as “the world’s longest art gallery.”

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Stockholm is filled with beautiful metro stations. @dmartphoto/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


According to Agora, it took the photographer over three hours to capture “Tram Lines” in Budapest and frame the tram within the bridge.

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‘Tram lines’ is another example of a train photo. @jprphotos/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


Two of the finalists had photos of people posing in an urban setting. “Untitled” (below) was taken in Madrid, Spain.

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This image was taken in Madrid, Spain. @nataliworldphotography/Agora Images

Source: Agora Images


The other photo with a person in it is “Urban style,” which was taken in Lleida in Spain. The photographer told Agora that the model in the photo was actually freezing since it was so cold outside.

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A model posing in Spain. @ares_mahol/Agora Images