February 18, 2018

Unnoticed Architectural Gems of Europe

While traveling I find myself amazed by all the gorgeous architecture. Whether we know it or not, I think most of us enjoy architecture while traveling.  We may not know it’s Gothic or Rococo or Baroque but we know we like it!

I think it’s also safe to say, we all can name some of the more famous architectural buildings in European cities. Notre Dame in Paris, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany or the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain are a few examples of well known buildings.  But I love exploring those beauties that seem to be unnoticed.

Here are three lovely architectural specimens that may not make it on your
travel list but may be worth taking the time to see!

Majolica House, Vienna Austria

Majolica House Vienna Austria

Majolica Haus (1898-1899) by loungerie, on Flickr

Vienna is full of architectural gems including St. Stephens and Schönbrunn Palace but don’t miss out on the other architectural stars of the city.  Majolica House is one of those we may overlook.  The building was designed by Otto Wagner who was a prominent architect in Vienna and member of a group of artists that rebelled against the older traditional styles.  Built between 1898 and 1899, the façade of Majolica House is actually painted ceramic tiles made in a technique called Majolica.  I think Wagner’s use of modern materials, color and traditional decoration has created a very lovely Art Nouveau building.

Majolica House Vienna Austria

Otto Wagner - Majolica House by pioilo, on Flickr

30 St Mary Axe, London England

30 St Mary Axe London England

30 St Mary Axe by Kadellar

I think from its shape you can tell why this building has the nickname “the Gherkin”. Sitting 591 ft tall in the financial district is one of London’s newest and most controversial symbols.  The skyscraper at 30 St Mary Axe was completed in 2003 in a modern style of architecture.  The diamond shaped light and dark glass help make the building appear to be a spiral.  This new building is very modern looking but I’m not really sure how it fits in with London’s other architectural treasures like Big Ben or Buckingham Palace!

Wiblingen Abbey and Library, Ulm Germany

Rococo Wiblingen Library Ulm Germany

Wiblingen Library by Enslin

Between Munich and Stuttgart lies Ulm Germany. Besides being the birthplace of Albert Einstein, Ulm is also the home of Wiblingen Abbey and Library.  While the abbey was founded in 1093, the current buildings date back to 1714 and are examples of the late Baroque style of architecture.  Even though the abbey itself is very beautiful, it is the sunning library that must be seen! Finished in 1744, the frescoed ceilings, columns, statues and other ornamentation combine to make one of the finest examples of Rococo architecture.  Ulm itself is not on the normal tourist track but maybe it should be if only to see this lovely library!


What other unnoticed architectural gems should be added to the list?

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  1. Travel Umroh says:

    The building is very luxurious and very pretty. It must be expensive to build this building.

  2. khyrieEt says:

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  5. Great finds, Debbie. It’d be hard to ignore any of these. They’re beautiful.
    I’ll have to add the Majolica House and Wiblingen Library to my list.
    InsideJourneys recently posted..Moving Day, Westmoreland Jamaica

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I was surprised I’d never heard of the Wiblingen Library! Thats the one I’d like to see most.

  6. I love walking around cities just to explore the architecture! So sad I missed Majolica House when I was in Vienna last summer – it’s so pretty!
    Megan @ Roamancing recently posted..Roamancing South Africa – Swimming with Penguins!!!

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’ve been to Vienna a couple times and have never seen it either! I don’t usually like this style of architecture but have to admit it looks really interesting.

  7. This is why I love to explore a city by walking. It seems you always stumble across an unknown gem, whether it’s a cool building or some interesting graffiti art.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..A celebration for the foodies of Columbus

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Stephanie! Wandering the streets is the best way to see a city or neighborhood.

  8. I like the Wiblingen Library. Amazing to think Ulm hides treasures like that.
    Mette – Italian Notes recently posted..Abruzzo national parks: Castles and pastures

  9. Leigh says:

    That Majolica Haus looks amazing.

    Can’t say there are too many architectural gems around Calgary but when I do love coming across the old stone buildings from the turn of the 20th C.
    Leigh recently posted..BC Tourist Attractions: The Bella Coola Valley

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