As we move deeper and deeper into the 21st century, many cities are ditching their traditional roots in favor of modern amenities and technology. While this can be written off as forward progress, there’s something to be said for the charming history of the olden days. Check out these five places that have managed to hold on to the legacy of their past, embrace the changes that have come along the way, and look toward the future — all in one harmonious city.
Take one look at the London skyline, and it’s easy to tell that the city has a rich history that blends well with modern progress. Big Ben and Parliament sit front and center with the massive London Eye, a 525-foot observation wheel that is a marvel of modern engineering and the tallest in Europe. Look the other direction, and you can see the famous 125-year-old Tower Bridge with some of the world’s most advanced skyscrapers in the background.
London is also the third-largest tech start-up area in the world, ensuring its continued dominance in the future. The city already boasts city-wide Wi-Fi hotspots, and there’s major testing going on for autonomous, zero-emission cars that just might reinvent its taxi service.
For a city that began its life in the 15th century, Bangkok has kept up with the times. Tourists flock to the city to see its amazing historic sites like the incredible Grand Palace that was built in 1782 and remains at the heart of the city.
Mixed between hundred-year-old temples and buildings are some of the most modern skyscrapers to date. Standing high above the skyline, the MahaNakhon is a marvel of modern engineering famous for its pixelated design. The lebua at State Tower shows off the city’s ability to blend the past, present, and future and boasts the tallest open-air rooftop bar in the world while retaining traditional design cues with the golden dome at the top.
Established in 1045 BCE, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world and is no stranger to adapting to the changing times. It is home to some of the most famous historic sites in the world like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. Ever heard of them?
Today, the city’s economy is 77% service-based and is the start-up capital of China. Even established tech giants like Lenovo, Google, and Microsoft have created research headquarters there to take advantage of the city’s advanced technological environment.
Mumbai is a unique city in that it has several histories that it displays front and center while still keeping up with the changing times. You can explore historical sites dating back to the 5th century like the Elephanta Caves or the Kanheri caves that showcase the ancient history of the city. In the early 20th century, British imperial rule of India left many European-influenced buildings scattered throughout the city. One of the more famous is the Gateway of India. The Bandra Worli Sea Link is an engineering marvel that displays the power of Mumbai’s modern infrastructure.
Today, Mumbai is one of the most populated cities in the world with more than 18 million people calling it home. People continue to flock there for the booming information technology and healthcare technology industries. It is also one of the richest cities in the world, home to more millionaires and billionaires per capita than almost any other city. The Antilia skyscraper is one of the largest private “homes” in the world, boasting 27 stories and 400,000 square feet of living space.
Looking at the skyline of Stockholm, it looks like a rather unassuming European city. Quaint, small buildings that sit on the water seem like a great tourist location to shoot some Instagram pictures. What you may not know is that Stockholm is a tech powerhouse and the start-up capital of Europe! It consistently ranks as one of the most technologically-advanced cities in the world.
Visiting Stockholm is like living in two time periods at once. The architecture of the city screams 19th century but still offers modern amenities. Stockholm was the first city to incorporate 3G and 4G and will probably be one of the first to go full 5G as well. The second highest number of billion-dollar tech start-ups are from Stockholm. You might have even heard of a few: Spotify and King (Candy Crush)!