"Matsumoto Castle in the land of the rising sun," photographed by Jan Meyer.
  • Agora, a free photography app, recently held its #Architecture2020 contest.
  • More than 10,000 images were submitted for the competition, which showcased the "best shots of unique and outstanding architecture" taken across the world.
  • Fifty finalists were chosen through votes cast on the Agora app.
  • Photographer Tran Tuan Viet's picture of the Golden Bridge in Vietnam won the contest and took home a $1,000 (R18,000) prize.
  • For mores stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

From the United States to Indonesia, stunning architecture can be found all across the world.

To show this, Agora recently challenged photographers to submit the best shots of buildings, bridges, and other unique structures they've captured. And after the free photography app received more than 10,000 submissions, 49 finalists and one winner were chosen.

Here's a look at their breathtaking images.

"A cold winter day" by Luca Cornago

Luca Cornago/Agora

Speaking to Agora, Cornago said his hands were frozen while photographing the Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany.

"The architecture of this castle is stunning," he told the photography app. "It reminded me of my childhood and Walt Disney."

"Cairo" by Banu Diker

Banu Diker/Agora

Diker found this building in Cairo, Egypt, and was captivated by its colour.

"The rustiness of the building was the only different colour in the picture, because the reflection on the windows reflected the same blue as the sky," she told Agora. "When I realised this, I thought the contrast was beautiful and I took the photo."

"Low fog in Moscow" by Sergei Poletaev

Sergei Poletaev/Agora

As its name suggests, this image was taken in Moscow, Russia. Poletaev told Agora that he used a drone to get the shot, and did so around 3 a.m.

"The fog was very dense, so I didn't even see the tower itself from my vantage point," he said. "But when I took off my drone, I saw this striking picture: a thin sky needle above the sea of fog, with a shadow that makes it endless. It was the best sunrise of that summer."

"Ciudad de las ciencias" by Luis Talon

Luis Talon/Agora

Talon's nominated photograph features the City of Arts and Sciences building in Valencia, Spain.

"I took this photo at sunset, where I took advantage of the beautiful natural light and the artificial lights coming from the building," the photographer told Agora.

"Flat iron building" by Øystein Karlsen

Øystein Karlsen/Agora

In New York City, Karlsen used a wide-angle lens to capture this building from a low perspective - so low that he had to lay on the ground. Unfortunately for the photographer, he accidentally dropped a different camera lens in the process.

"This picture cost me about $1,200 (R21,000) for the repair of a lens I didn't even use!" he said.

"Fort Alexander 1" by Alexey Nikitin

Alexey Nikitin/Agora

This aerial photograph was taken by Nikitin near Kronstadt, Russia. It features Fort Alexander 1, a naval fortress originally built in 1838.

"Bottle Opener and Needle" by Vitaly Tyuk

Vitaly Tyuk/Agora

Tyuk, a Russian photographer, travelled to Shanghai, China, to capture this shot.

"Colourful architecture in Tokyo" by Alvaro Valiente

Alvaro Valiente/Agora

Valiente photographed this colourful building while traveling in Tokyo, Japan.

"Arundel Folly" by Bear Martin

Bear Martin/Agora

Speaking to Agora, Martin said he visited the Hiorne Tower in West Sussex, UK, at 8 p.m. on a "very dark but clear winter night." To add some light to the architecture, he used bright drones to circle the structure.

"Central in Hong Kong" by Jacky Woo

Jacky Woo/Agora

Not only does Woo's photograph feature eye-catching architecture, but it's also enhanced by neon lights and winding roads.

"Castlemania!" by @moodfella


This nominated images focuses on Eltz Castle, a medieval structure located near Mayen-Koblenz, Germany.

"Aerial view" by Pham Huy Trung

Pham Huy Trung/Agora

While in Hue, Vietnam, Trung photographed this floating restaurant from the air because it "can be better admired from above," as he told Agora.

"Chinese New Year in Singapore" by Ghislain Fave

Ghislain Fave/Agora

According to Fave, he was able to take this photograph of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore from a nearby condo building.

"I wanted to show the contrast between this place of worship and the modern district of Singapore in the background," he told Agora.

"Modern lookups" by Sebastian Burziwal

Sebastian Burziwal/Agora

"I'd seen some shots of this place before, but I never knew exactly where it was, so I had to ask a lot of people to find out," Burziwal told Agora about the building in his photograph. "It's one of Vienna's most classic lookups in the city center."

"Clifton suspension bridge" by Tom Bridges

Tom Bridges/Agora

Bridges told Agora that he lived next to this bridge in Bristol, UK, for two years, but had "never managed" to capture fog as it passed over. But after moving an hour away, he decided to travel back to the location for three consecutive days to get the shot.

"Matsumoto Castle in the land of the rising sun" by Jan Meyer

Jan Meyer/Agora

This nominated image was taken by Meyer in Matsumoto, Japan.

"Petare" by Donaldo Barros

Donaldo Barros/Agora

In Petare, Venezuela, Barros captured this cluster of buildings.

"Lonely house" by Artem Pikalov

Artem Pikalov/Agora

Through this photograph, which was taken in Crimea, Russia, Pikalov wanted to convey "the peace of being in such a secluded place." The image is also important to him, as he took it on the same day he found out he would become a father.

"Close Quarters" by Kent Sampson

Kent Sampson/Agora

While in Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, Sampson aimed to capture the city's "dense" architecture. Speaking to Agora, he said he was specifically captivated by the area's "older, grittier, and seemingly never-ending apartment blocks."

"I spent a couple of hours getting lost in this part of the city, getting carried away with the different colours and patterns of all the various buildings," he said. "For me, no other picture I took sums up Hong Kong as a city better than this one."

"Golden Bridge" by Tran Tuan Viet

Tran Tuan Viet/Agora

It's no surprise that Viet's photo of the Golden Bridge in Vietnam was named the winner of Agora's #Architecture2020 contest. Not only does it show a unique bridge that's held by larger-than-life hands, but it also captures the beauty of its surrounding landscape.

"Pahtotharmyar" by Aye Chan Tun

Aye Chan Tun/Agora

According to Tun, capturing this image required "meticulous organisation," as the sun only shines through the Myanmar temple for a brief moment each day.

"Parking" by Matias Garcia

Matias Garcia/Agora

"I was walking around Barcelona, my home city, when I came across this particular building," Garcia told Agora. "I decided to go inside and have a look."

"It reminded me of how important it is to look for different points of view when photographing something," he continued. "The outcome can change radically if we give it another perspective."

"Stupa homage" by Min Zaw

Min Zaw/Agora

This stupa, also known as a Buddhist shrine, was photographed by Zaw in Myanmar. According to the photographer, the crack seen in the middle of the architecture was created by an earthquake.

"Stairway to Heaven" by Perry Wunderlich

Perry Wunderlich/Agora

"I was in Hamburg, Germany, for two days, and spent my time photographing the beautiful stairs across the city," Wunderlich told Agora. "I like such abstract pictures where you don't immediately grasp what it is."

"Surrounded by 72 Buddha statues — The Great Candi Borobudur" by Risa Wicaksana

Risa Wicaksana/Agora

Wicaksana's aerial photograph was taken in Indonesia. It focuses on Borobudur, which is described by UNESCO as a Buddhist temple dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries.

"Tulum" by Blake Hobson

Blake Hobson/Agora

Hobson took this photograph of a woman walking across a bridge while traveling in Tulum, Mexico.

"Running under the storto" by Marco Tagliarino

Marco Tagliarino/Agora

Speaking to Agora, Tagliarino said he wanted to "underline the integration between the new architecture" of his city and the "respect of the environment with this runner passing by" through his photograph. It features a view of Generali Tower in Milan, Italy.

"Urban Grid | Barcelona" by Lee Mumford

Lee Mumford/Agora

To capture this photograph, Mumford needed the lighting to be just right. He waited until clouds had passed, and took this shot early in the morning.

"Landmark 81" by Azim Khan Ronnie

Azim Khan Ronnie/Agora

While in Vietnam, Ronnie decided to photograph the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City. He also did so from the ground, which helped to capture the architecture's height.

"Inception" by Yura Borschev

Yura Borschev/Agora

There's more to this nominated photo of Petrovsky Palace than meets the eye.

"I wanted to capture its amazing architecture using a technique called 'Inception,'" Borschev told Agora. "There are nine photos from different angles manually merged into one photo."

"Hong Kong from above" by Michelle Loois

Michelle Loois/Agora

As its name suggests, this aerial photograph provides an unexpected view of Hong Kong.

"Monument Sunset" by Marian Flessa

Marian Flessa/Agora

This nominated photograph, taken at sunset, focuses on the Emperor William Monument in Porta Westfalica, Germany.

"Light Through the Dragon's Gate" by Blair Sugarman

Blair Sugarman/Agora

According to Sugarman, natural lighting was "perfect" for this picture as result of a sunset. He also told Agora that he hopes his photo evokes "curiosity and wonder at the uniqueness of Hong Kong's building structures."

"The roofs in an old village" by Nông Thanh Toàn

Nông Thanh Toàn/Agora

Taken from above, Toàn's photograph shows a colourful area filled with blue roofs in Thanh Hóa, Vietnam.

"Water" by Andy Huan

Andy Huan/Agora

Huan photographed this stunning waterfall in Malaysia.

"Infinity and beyond" by Abdullah Sarwar

Abdullah Sarwar/Agora

Looking up at the sky, Sarwar captured his nominated image in Lahore, Pakistan.

"The Vessel" by Katharina Imhof

Katharina Imhof/Agora

The Germany-based photographer took this shot of The Vessel, a tourist attraction, while in New York City.

"Painted Hall" by Liam Man

Liam Man/Agora

Man's photograph is one of the only nominated images taken inside a building. He captured the shot at the Old Royal Naval College in London.

"Rainy day long exposure" by Zhe Qian

Zhe Qian/Agora

Whereas some photographers dislike rainy days, Qian told Agora that he actually finds them to be "more appealing" than bright weather. So when it started to drizzle during an otherwise sunny day, the photographer headed to San Francisco to take this photo.

"I spent about 30 minutes standing in the rain next to my tripod, but it was all worth it," Qian said. "What I was trying to deliver is the tranquility and quietness of the city when it is covered by falling rain, which is the kind of beauty I appreciate a lot."

"Safdarjung's Tomb" by Arun Sharma

Arun Sharma/Agora

Sharma captured this tomb in Dehli, India. In previous years however, that might not have been possible. According to the photographer, local governments in India only recently added lighting to its monuments so that they become more visible at night.

"Sathorn bridge" by Genny Sian

Genny Sian/Agora

"I really love architecture, so I wanted to photograph some of the modern buildings in Bangkok during my trip there," Sian told Agora. "The Sathorn Bridge Tower caught most of my attention."

"I spent a few hours there that day, from daylight to evening, without even getting tired," the photographer continued.

"I want to believe" by @photosbyaadil


This nominated image was captured in Pakistan. It was taken from inside a structure, with light pouring in from an open pathway.

"Urban geometry" by Arthur Kanatov

Arthur Kanatov/Agora

Speaking to Agora, Kanatov said he had arrived at this location in Moscow, Russia, earlier than planned. As a result, he spent time speaking with people and children around him.

"When I started to fly, so many little kids ran to me," the photographer said of his camera drone. "It was really funny to see their wondering faces, and I let them see their home from above."

"The first jummah prayers during Ramadan" by Kazi Md. Jahirul Islam

Kazi Md. Jahirul Islam/Agora

According to the photographer, this mosque in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is "constantly getting overcrowded, especially during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan," so much so that the local government "had to add extensions."

"The mosque has several modern architectural features whilst preserving the traditional principles of Mughal architecture," Islam told Agora.

"The chair" by @edgar_mtz


A photographer who goes by @edgar_mtz online told Agora that he spontaneously took this image while visiting a museum in Mexico.

"The museum's guard went to the bathroom, so I took my chance to photograph his chair," he said.

"The reflection of the city" by Cao Ky Nhan

Cao Ky Nhan/Agora

While taking this photograph in Vietnam, Nhan ended up getting bitten by tons of mosquitoes.

"Don't forget to apply mosquito repellent if you ever go to this lake," the photographer told Agora.

"Windows" by Jay Wu

Jay Wu/Agora

Wu spotted this yellow building, as well as its vibrant reflection in a puddle, in Singapore.

"One of the best moments of my life" by Talha Arshad

Talha Arshad/Agora

"Every year, millions of pilgrims head to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, for the Hajj pilgrimage - which is one of the five pillars of Islam," Arshad told Agora. "When I went there, I could feel Allah at every heartbeat. It's a place of unity, equality, and peace. I consider myself so lucky that I experienced this beautiful moment."

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