Incredible photos of the world's historic sites



Slide 1 of 55: From the grandeur of King's College Chapel, University of Cambridge, to the loneliness of a D-Day veteran on a Normandy beach in France, the winning photographs of the 2019 Historic Photographer of the Year award are a beautiful catalog of our shared history and culture. See why the judges chose these inspiring images.
Slide 2 of 55: A group of brightly colored hot air balloons glide over the historic landscape of Cappadocia in central Turkey. The unique rock formations here have been shaped by erosion and volcanic activity and are known as fairy chimneys.
Slide 3 of 55: The ruins of Caudilla Castle haunt the landscape near Toledo in central Spain. The castle is believed to date from 1450 but time and weather have taken their toll. In this image the night sky seems to give the castle back some of its former imposing greatness. Discover more things to see in Toledo with our guide.
Slide 4 of 55: A small child is dwarfed by the ancient and beautiful Hōryū-ji Temple complex in Nara Prefecture, Japan. The Buddhist temple was built in AD 607 and is one of the earliest UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.

Slide 5 of 55: The diverse cultural and religious history of India is beautifully illustrated here. This is the holy site of Varanasi by the river Ganges where Hindu worshippers regularly wash. Behind sits the towering 17th century Alamgir Mosque, a temple to Islam.
Slide 6 of 55: In the Sexten Dolomites mountain range of northeastern Italy sit the three peaks of Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It is an area littered with tunnels used during the First World War between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies. The soldiers not only had to survive their opposition but also the extreme weather conditions at such altitudes.
Slide 7 of 55: The spectacular Tomb of Safdar Jang dominates the landscape in New Delhi, India. It was completed in 1754 from sandstone and marble and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture. Discover more of India's beautiful places.
Slide 8 of 55: It's hard to believe that the quiet beauty of Rosedale in the North York Moors National Park, England was once a scene of industry, noise and bustle. From 1850 until 1929, ironstone was mined and transported to smelters on the River Tees. Now peace and tranquillity has been restored. Find out what else to see in the North York Moors.
Slide 9 of 55: The Nærøyfjord is the most beautiful and wild section of the Sognefjord in southwestern Norway. The mirror-clear water reflects the village of Gudvangen from where the image was taken. This area is a Nature Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Slide 10 of 55: Look up and you never know what you might see, and that's certainly a rule to abide by when inside the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. Here the photographer has selected an interior shot of this edifice known for its knobbly spires and sculpture work. In 1883, a year after the building began, Antoni Gaudí took over the construction of this cathedral dedicated to the Holy Family. Despite his death in 1926, work on his vision persists today. Check out more of Gaudí's highlights in our big guide to the Catalan city.
Slide 11 of 55: The main pyramid, El Castillo at Chichen Itza, in the eastern Yukatan province of Mexico was built by the Mayan people between AD 600 and 1200. With its 365 magnificent steps and imposing height, this four-sided structure (or the Temple of Kukulkan) is one of Mexico’s biggest tourist draws. Discover 50 photos of worldwide wonders we've only just discovered.
Slide 12 of 55: The Qasr Bshir Roman Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best-preserved examples in Jordan. The inscription over the entrance states it was built in AD 293–305 and this picture against a twilight sky speaks to the power of the Roman empire at its eastern frontier. See more of the world's most incredible Roman ruins.
Slide 13 of 55: Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, boasts The Badshahi Mosque, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Completed in 1673, its red sandstone walls and white marble domes have graced the city ever since. 
Slide 14 of 55: This set of three identical stairs in a triple helix formation was built between 1806 and 1809. It was designed to move troops between the barracks on the Western Heights and the town below.

Slide 15 of 55: This quaint, Harry Potter-esque street lies at the heart of the city of York in northern England. Known as The Shambles, most of the buildings date to the 14th and 15th century and it remains one of the city most visited districts. Traveling with the kids? Here's our guide to family-friendly York.
Slide 16 of 55: The Strahov Monastery, founded in 1143, is located in Prague the capital of the Czech Republic. This beautiful library in its Theological Hall dates from 1679 and contains hundreds of thousands of books and manuscripts. It is a temple to learning.
Slide 17 of 55: The Jama Masjid of Delhi is one of the largest mosques in India. It was built between 1650 and 1656 and its 131-foot (40m) high minarets are made of red sandstone and white marble. A sea of more than 25,000 worshippers fill the courtyard.
Slide 18 of 55: Gergeti Trinity Bell Tower's isolated location on a steep mountain has made it a symbol of Georgia. The tower dates from the 14th century and its stunning location makes it a popular stopping point for adventurous hikers.
Slide 19 of 55: US D-Day veteran Jack Port sits alone with his thoughts on Utah Beach in Normandy, France. Jack was there on D-Day in June 1944 and fought on for a further 11 weeks. He says, "If everyone served 24 hours combat duty, there would be no wars."
Slide 20 of 55: Bangladesh, situated east of India, is celebrated for its lush green land and waterways teeming with life. Fishermen find abundant catches but the climate emergency could decimate a country where two-thirds of the land is less than 16.5 feet (5m) above sea level.
Slide 21 of 55: A dusting of snow on the ruins of Raglan Castle in southeastern Wales bring a gray shiver to this picture. The castle dates from the mid-15th century and it's said the ghost of the librarian, who hid valuable books during the Civil War, beckons to visitors.
Slide 22 of 55: Reminiscent of a scene from Star Wars, this sea fort stands defiant in the Thames Estuary east of London, England. One of four naval forts, it was built during the Second World War as a defence against enemy aircraft but abandoned in the 1950s.
Slide 23 of 55: Yarnbury Lead Mines near Grassington in the north of England thrived during the first half of the 19th century. These flues just below the surface of the moor carried the smoke away from the smelting process. Abandoned in 1880, they are a stark reminder of a lost world.
Slide 24 of 55: A series of concrete radar stations were built round the English coast during the Second World War. This one, on the Isle of Sheppey off the southeast of England, is now sinking lopsidedly into the cliff due to coastal erosion.
Slide 25 of 55: Lalbagh Fort near the Buriganaga River in Bangladesh began life as a defensive structure in 1678 but was never completed. Its tranquil presence and ornate gardens afford a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the nearby capital city of Dhaka.
Slide 26 of 55: Corfe Castle, on the Isle of Purbeck off the Dorset coast, was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century and renovated over the centuries. Shrouded here in mist, it gives the ruin an other worldly appearance.
Slide 27 of 55: In this second image the headstones of Corfe's village cemetery populate the foreground of the eerie Castle, which was partially destroyed after the English Civil War in 1685. Today it's owned by the National Trust.
Slide 28 of 55: The last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt stand proud between the sparkling desert and the towering soft white clouds. Their perfect symmetry gives a fantastic reminder of mankind's enduring creativity. Discover what the seven wonders of the ancient world would look like today.
Slide 29 of 55: In 1973, a United States naval plane crashed into the black volcanic beach of southern Iceland. Luckily everyone on board survived, but the crash debris remains as an eerie memorial of how precarious life can be.
Slide 30 of 55: The beautiful coast of County Londonderry, Northern Ireland is the perfect backdrop to a small circular building known as the Mussenden Temple. It was built in 1785 as a library and a memorial to a beloved cousin but is now threatened by coastal erosion.
Slide 31 of 55: Bled Lake sits surrounded by mountains in the northwestern part of Slovenia. In an almost fairy tale setting, a 17th century church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary sits on tiny Bled Island within the lake. Its beauty has made the church a frequent focus for pilgrims. 
Slide 32 of 55: Scotney Castle in the southeastern English county of Kent dates from the 14th century. The house is open to the public and the gardens are recognized as being of special scientific interest. Here, the sunset sky is perfectly reflected in the moat water. Discover what else to see in the county known as the Garden of England.
Slide 33 of 55: This statue, reportedly the tallest in the world, was constructed in 1967 in Mamayev, Volgograd (once known as Stalingrad) Russia. Entitled The Motherland Calls, it recalls the suffering of the Russian people during the Second World War. Covered in scaffolding, the statue has been undergoing renovation recently.
Slide 34 of 55: On the eastern coast of Scotland lies the county of Fife. The rugged countryside and wild seas made a lighthouse necessary to helping shipping and Elie Ness was built in 1907. Certainly, it was a welcome beacon to many a passing ship.
Slide 35 of 55: The Russian capital Moscow was founded in 1147 and today many medieval and 18th century buildings now sit side-by-side.
Slide 36 of 55: The Stalin era deeply affected many cities in Russia, including Moscow which still lives with its frightening legacy. In spite of new developments and technologies, these monumental buildings are daily reminders of past suppression.
Slide 37 of 55: Here, the Russian capital never looked so dainty as when captured in a small glass sphere. Moscow, beautifully reflected, is like a small planet – immediately accessible in the palm of your hand.
Slide 38 of 55: A solitary camel is glimpsed between the rocks towards the unique city of Petra in southern Jordan. Lying hidden in the Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), 2,000-year-old Petra remains relatively inaccessible thanks to a trek to the huge site, but it's a wonder to behold when you arrive. 
Slide 39 of 55: Usually beset by tourists, the 4,500-year-old Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria enjoys a brief moment of solitude. The purpose of the monument is unknown but it commands a superb view over the surrounding fells.
Slide 40 of 55: Depending on the tide, the causeway to St Michael's Mount in Cornwall can be accessible by foot. There was probably a monastery on the site in the 8th century but the earliest building now dates from 12th century. This sky is beautifully reflected in this image.
Slide 41 of 55: The Albert Memorial, a towering monument to grief, was erected in central London on the orders of Queen Victoria in 1872. The seated figure of her husband Prince Albert, covered in gold leaf and shrouded by a Gothic-style canopy, looks resplendent against a twilight sky.
Slide 42 of 55: Constructed in 1863, the Dovercourt Lighthouse was one of two cast-iron structures built off the Essex coast. It was a welcome beacon to passing ships until abandoned in 1917. This picture shows its strength in contrast to the pale mauve sky.
Slide 43 of 55: Ely has the longest nave of any cathedral in England and this picture gives it a real sense of space and grandeur. This most beautiful cathedral was begun in 1083 and built of stone decorated with Purbeck marble.
Slide 44 of 55: Unquestionably one of the most beautiful of English cathedrals, Wells is situated in Somerset in southwest England. Built between 1176 and 1450, this picture shows the magical way the light streams through the ancient stained glass. See more of the world's most awe-inspiring cathedrals.
Slide 45 of 55: Work began on Bolton Abbey in 1154 and was still going on when Henry VIII wrought destruction on the place in 1539. The romantic ruins remain and their rich honey-colored stone complements the reds and oranges of this fall day.
Slide 46 of 55: This remote church, dedicated to the English martyr Thomas a Becket, was built of wood around AD 1200 and renovated with brick in the 18th century. The town of Fairfield, which the church once served, has long since disappeared hence its solitary appearance.
Slide 47 of 55: St Clement's Hospital, a mental health facility closed in 2005, is situated on the Mile End Road in East London. The picture recalls the atmosphere of solitude, grief and distress the inhabitants must have felt.
Slide 48 of 55: A pristine fall of snow covers any modern landmarks and gives an impression of how this stone circle in Cumbria, England must have looked to our ancestors centuries ago. Local folklore claims that is impossible to count all the stones.
Slide 49 of 55: Tower Bridge spans the river Thames in London and is one of the city's most iconic sights. The bridge was completed in 1886 and the ingenious mechanism allows the road between the towers to be raised so ships can pass through. Check out more of the world's most beautiful bridges.
Slide 50 of 55: Devotees, of the Jain religion come to the Temple of Shravanabelagola, Karnataka, India to offer their prayers to the Lord Bahubali. Construction of this 57-foot (17.5m) granite statue was completed in around AD 993.
Slide 51 of 55: The breathtaking grandeur of King's College Chapel, University of Cambridge, founded in 1446 (although the university dates from 1209), is even more apparent when viewed against the tiny people on the ground. This picture, taken with the use of a cherry picker, shows the beauty of the medieval stained-glass windows. Now discover 89 images of the UK taken from the skies.
Slide 52 of 55: Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is the most striking cultural icon of Britain’s ancient past. The giant standing stones tower over Salisbury plain. This picture, taken at dawn, reveals the beating heart of the megaliths.
Slide 53 of 55: It is thought the stone circle is around 4,500 years old. But this second picture of the stones, glowing under the starry sky in the early hours of an August morning, was designed by the photographer to illustrate its insignificance compared to the estimated 13.5 billion years of the Milky Way above. See Stonehenge and other amazing spots on the Great West Way.
Slide 54 of 55: Completed in 1885, the Roker Pier in Sunderland was considered a triumph of engineering. The 2,000-foot (610m) long construction was made of granite-faced concrete blocks and a lighthouse at the pier head was completed in 1903. This winning picture emphasizes its stupendous length and elegance.
Slide 55 of 55: In September, during the equinox tides, it's possible to reach the dykes of the artificial harbor of Arromanches on foot. The temporary harbors were built in 1944 as a means of off-loading cargo and men for the D-Day landings in the Second World War. This winning photograph captures its stillness against a late summer sky.

Award-winning photography from around the globe

From the grandeur of King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, to the loneliness of a D-Day veteran on a Normandy beach in France, the winning photographs of the 2019 Historic Photographer of the Year award are a beautiful catalog of our shared history and culture. See why the judges chose these inspiring images.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Caudilla Castle, Toledo, Spain

The ruins of Caudilla Castle haunt the landscape near Toledo in central Spain. The castle is believed to date from 1450 but time and weather have taken their toll. In this image the night sky seems to give the castle back some of its former imposing greatness. Discover more things to see in Toledo with our guide.

Hōryū-ji Temple, Nara, Japan

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Sexten Dolomites, Italy

Tomb of Safdar Jang, New Delhi, India

The spectacular Tomb of Safdar Jang dominates the landscape in New Delhi, India. It was completed in 1754 from sandstone and marble and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture. Discover more of India’s beautiful places.

Rosedale Ironworks, North Yorkshire, UK

It’s hard to believe that the quiet beauty of Rosedale in the North York Moors National Park, England was once a scene of industry, noise and bustle. From 1850 until 1929, ironstone was mined and transported to smelters on the River Tees. Now peace and tranquillity has been restored. Find out what else to see in the North York Moors.

The Nærøyfjord, Norway

Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

Look up and you never know what you might see, and that’s certainly a rule to abide by when inside the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. Here the photographer has selected an interior shot of this edifice known for its knobbly spires and sculpture work. In 1883, a year after the building began, Antoni Gaudí took over the construction of this cathedral dedicated to the Holy Family. Despite his death in 1926, work on his vision persists today. Check out more of Gaudí’s highlights in our big guide to the Catalan city.

El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Mexico

The main pyramid, El Castillo at Chichen Itza, in the eastern Yukatan province of Mexico was built by the Mayan people between AD 600 and 1200. With its 365 magnificent steps and imposing height, this four-sided structure (or the Temple of Kukulkan) is one of Mexico’s biggest tourist draws. Discover 50 photos of worldwide wonders we’ve only just discovered.

The Qasr Bshir Fort, Jordan

The Qasr Bshir Roman Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best-preserved examples in Jordan. The inscription over the entrance states it was built in AD 293–305 and this picture against a twilight sky speaks to the power of the Roman empire at its eastern frontier. See more of the world’s most incredible Roman ruins.

The Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab, boasts The Badshahi Mosque, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Completed in 1673, its red sandstone walls and white marble domes have graced the city ever since. 

The Grand Shaft, Dover, UK

This set of three identical stairs in a triple helix formation was built between 1806 and 1809. It was designed to move troops between the barracks on the Western Heights and the town below.

The Shambles, York, UK

This quaint, Harry Potter-esque street lies at the heart of the city of York in northern England. Known as The Shambles, most of the buildings date to the 14th and 15th century and it remains one of the city most visited districts. Traveling with the kids? Here’s our guide to family-friendly York.

Strahov Monastery, Prague, Czech Republic

Jama Masjid, Delhi, India

Gergeti Trinity Bell Tower, Georgia

Utah Beach, Normandy, France

Land and river, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, situated east of India, is celebrated for its lush green land and waterways teeming with life. Fishermen find abundant catches but the climate emergency could decimate a country where two-thirds of the land is less than 16.5 feet (5m) above sea level.

Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales, UK

Red Sands Fort, Thames Estuary, London, UK

Yarnbury Mines, Grassington, North Yorkshire, UK

Warden Point Radar Station, Isle of Sheppey, Kent, UK

Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Corfe Castle, Dorset, UK

Corfe Castle, Dorset, UK

Giza, Cairo, Egypt

The last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt stand proud between the sparkling desert and the towering soft white clouds. Their perfect symmetry gives a fantastic reminder of mankind’s enduring creativity. Discover what the seven wonders of the ancient world would look like today.

Aircraft crash site, Sólheimasandur, Iceland

Mussenden Temple, Northern Ireland, UK

Bled Island, Slovenia

Bled Lake sits surrounded by mountains in the northwestern part of Slovenia. In an almost fairy tale setting, a 17th century church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary sits on tiny Bled Island within the lake. Its beauty has made the church a frequent focus for pilgrims. 

Scotney Castle, Kent, UK

Scotney Castle in the southeastern English county of Kent dates from the 14th century. The house is open to the public and the gardens are recognized as being of special scientific interest. Here, the sunset sky is perfectly reflected in the moat water. Discover what else to see in the county known as the Garden of England.

Mamayev Kurgan, Volgograd, Russia

Elie Ness Lighthouse, Scotland

On the eastern coast of Scotland lies the county of Fife. The rugged countryside and wild seas made a lighthouse necessary to helping shipping and Elie Ness was built in 1907. Certainly, it was a welcome beacon to many a passing ship.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Petra, Jordan

A solitary camel is glimpsed between the rocks towards the unique city of Petra in southern Jordan. Lying hidden in the Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), 2,000-year-old Petra remains relatively inaccessible thanks to a trek to the huge site, but it’s a wonder to behold when you arrive. 

Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria, UK

St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, UK

The Albert Memorial, London, UK

Dovercourt Lighthouse, Essex, UK

Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, UK

Wells Cathedral, Somerset, UK

Unquestionably one of the most beautiful of English cathedrals, Wells is situated in Somerset in southwest England. Built between 1176 and 1450, this picture shows the magical way the light streams through the ancient stained glass. See more of the world’s most awe-inspiring cathedrals.

Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire, UK

Church of St Thomas a Becket, Romney Marsh, UK

St Clement’s Hospital, London, UK

Swinside Stone Circle, Cumbria, UK

Tower Bridge, London, UK

Tower Bridge spans the river Thames in London and is one of the city’s most iconic sights. The bridge was completed in 1886 and the ingenious mechanism allows the road between the towers to be raised so ships can pass through. Check out more of the world’s most beautiful bridges.

Shravanabelagola Temple, India

King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, UK

The breathtaking grandeur of King’s College Chapel, University of Cambridge, founded in 1446 (although the university dates from 1209), is even more apparent when viewed against the tiny people on the ground. This picture, taken with the use of a cherry picker, shows the beauty of the medieval stained-glass windows. Now discover 89 images of the UK taken from the skies.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

It is thought the stone circle is around 4,500 years old. But this second picture of the stones, glowing under the starry sky in the early hours of an August morning, was designed by the photographer to illustrate its insignificance compared to the estimated 13.5 billion years of the Milky Way above. See Stonehenge and other amazing spots on the Great West Way.

Historic England Winner: Roker Pier, Sunderland, UK

Overall winner: Arromanches Mulberry Harbour, Normandy, France

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