- Michel Porro/Getty Images, Georgios Antonatos/Shutterstock
- Some city skylines around the world have changed dramatically over the past 20 years.
- The Notre Dame‘s recognizable spire collapsed in a fire in 2019.
- The London Eye was still under construction at the beginning of 2000.
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Some of the world’s most iconic skylines have undergone significant changes over the past 20 years.
While some cities have enjoyed prosperous economic growth, spurring the construction of impressive skyscrapers and other structures, others have tragically lost beloved landmarks.
As 2019 comes to an end, here’s a look back at how 10 of the world’s city skylines have evolved since the year 2000.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center were an iconic part of New York City until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were a familiar sight to New Yorkers,” Brittany Fowler wrote in Business Insider. “For decades, you looked up, and they were there. It was a reassuring sight.”
One World Trade Center, completed in 2014, commands the horizon now.
One World Trade Center is 1,776 feet tall – a reference to how the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
The Dubai Marina in the United Arab Emirates was undergoing basic construction in 2000.
- RABIH MOGHRABI/AFP via Getty Images
The marina is set along an artificial canal on the Persian Gulf. The first of its seven bridges was completed in 2000.
The Dubai Marina is still being expanded, but it’s full of luxury high-rise buildings.
- Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The area’s attractions include the Dubai Marina Mall, Al-Rahim Mosque, and plenty of beach access.
The Notre Dame Cathedral was among Paris’ most recognizable landmarks.
- Gerard SIOEN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
The cathedral was built in the 12th century.
A 2019 fire destroyed Notre Dame’s spire and most of its roof.
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Archaeologists, scientists, researchers, and construction workers are currently working to restore the site in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Mount Fuji stole the show in Tokyo, Japan, in 2000.
- Kimimasa Mayama/Reuters
Mount Fuji, which stands at 12,389 feet tall, is southwest of Tokyo.
But the Tokyo Skytree building made a distinct addition to the city’s landscape in 2012.
- Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
It’s no Mount Fuji, but it’s the world’s tallest tower at 2,080 feet.
Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower was completed in 1994, but there weren’t many other buildings surrounding it in 2000.
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The Oriental Pearl Tower, the sixth-tallest tower in the world, is located in Shanghai’s Pudong economic district.
More skyscrapers have cropped up around the tower in recent years.
- DEA/GIANNI OLIVA/Contributor/Getty Images
The Pudong economic district is classified as a Special Economic Zone with the goal of furthering China’s economic growth through tax and business incentives, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
After the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, Moscow’s landscape began to change.
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Dingy apartment complexes from the Soviet Union remain standing alongside Western-style establishments like casinos and nightclubs.
The population of Moscow has increased by about 2 million since 2000.
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It remains one of the largest cities in the world with around 12 million people, and its infrastructure is growing to keep up.
The city of Cairo, Egypt, has existed on the bank of Egypt’s Nile River for over 1,000 years.
Its foundations date back even further to the Fatimid dynasty in the year 969.
Cairo has become so large and populous that Egypt is building an entirely new capital city to alleviate the congestion.
The project has run into delays due to a lack of funding.
The London Eye was still under construction when the year 2000 began, opening to the public that March.
- Michel Porro/Getty Images
The 443-foot Ferris wheel was the tallest one in the world until 2006.
It has remained one of the defining characteristics of London’s skyline, and was joined by The Shard skyscraper in 2012.
- James D. Morgan/Contributor/Getty Images
According to Londonist, the London Eye is the most popular paid attraction in the UK with over 3.75 million riders every year.
The Shard, built in partnership with Qatar, was designed to be a “vertical city” complete with offices, hotels, apartments, and retail space.
The infrastructure in Seoul, South Korea, struggled to keep up with its population growth.
Rapid economic development can have catastrophic consequences. Seoul’s Songsu bridge collapsed in 1994, killing 32 people. It was built to hold 36.3 tons and regularly held more than 47.3 tons, according to the New York Times.
Seoul turned an unsafe highway into a walkway called Seoul Street in 2017.
The walkway is set along the Cheonggyecheon Stream, an artificial river woven with paths and bridges, built in 2005. The park added much-needed green space to Seoul’s landscape, the Washington Post reported.
After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, construction projects across Bangkok, Thailand, came to a halt.
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Stock markets and currency values in east and southeast Asia plummeted in 1997 due to the Thai government’s decision not to peg the baht to the US dollar.
While some unfinished buildings have either been torn down or completed, some abandoned towers still remain.
- sommart sombutwanitkul/Shutterstock
A number of “ghost” buildings in the cityscape are unfit for demolition or further construction. The most famous example is the Sathorn Unique, a 49-story abandoned skyscraper known as “Ghost Tower” that still stands in the middle of Bangkok.