We all agree, that there is no unifying force stronger than sports. Few activities elicit such an emotional response from followers. Very often, the passion exhibited by players is matched by the spectators. Apart from the quality of the play on display, the venue also plays a major role in adding to the spirit of the sport.
Here, we take a look at some of the most amazing sporting venues in the world. Some of them are beautiful the way they are built, while with some of these, the surroundings help add a glorious touch to the overall aura of these sporting arenas.
1. Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China
The stadium hosted the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The Bird's Nest, as it is popularly known, comprises of two separate structures, one is an 80,000-seater inner concrete bowl. And the other is a spectacular curvilinear outer steel shell that gives it the look of a bird's nest. It was designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and cost $480 million to be completed.
2. Newlands Cricket Stadium, Cape Town
The site of South Africa's first test match, in 1889.
A beautiful cricket ground situated between the Table Mountain and Devil's peak in South Africa, there are a few better-looking places to play cricket. Although there are lesser grass banks now than in the past, the ground is still on the bucket lists of many cricket-lovers.
3. Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia
The stadium hosted the Sochi Winter Olympics, 2014.
The stadium, named after Mount Fisht, is made to resemble a snowy peak, quite aptly so, because it hosted the Winter Olympics. The Caucasus Mountains and the Imeretinskaya Valley form an enchanting backdrop. The arena was also featured on a 100-rouble Russian banknote, released just 100 days before the Sochi Olympics began.
4. Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Home to the Bayern Munich Football Club.
Have you heard of a football stadium causing road accidents? The Allianz Arena in Munich does just that. The arena opened in 2005 and was the first to change colours, according to the team, that was playing. The police say, drivers usually get distracted seeing the panels change colours, while driving alongside the stadium.
5. Universiade Sports Centre, Shenzhen, China
The stadium hosted a Milan derby in 2015.
Constructed for the 2011 Summer Universiade, the global inter-university sports meet, the Universiade Sports Centre has a crystalline outer structure made up of triangular panels of laminated safety glass and slabs of polycarbonate that look pretty impressive when they are lit up after sundown.
6. Queenstown Events Centre, New Zealand
Probably the best place to play or watch cricket in New Zealand.
Situated in Queenstown, Otago, New Zealand, the Queenstown Events Centre has a stunning backdrop formed by the Remarkables mountain range. Although some people believe that its location, which is very close to an airport, offsets its charm, others say that a jet flying around only adds to the beauty of the place.
7. Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, Kiev, Ukraine
This is the largest stadium in Ukraine.
The football stadium was on the list of the many venues hosting Mexico Olympics in 1980. The stadium has a seating capacity of more than 70,000 people, and the newly-built roof completely covers the seating area. It also hosted the final of the UEFA Euro Championships 2012. Look how gorgeous and neat it looks.
8. Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan
The Sapporo Dome resembles a horseshoe crab.
Like with everything Japanese, this stadium is absolutely unique in terms of its architecture. The stadium has a completely retractable grass field, which serves as the football pitch. It can be taken out of the stadium revealing the artificial baseball diamond under it, making the stadium truly multi-purpose.
9. FNB Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
This stadium hosted Africa's first major global sporting event.
It's time for Africa. The FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, also known as the Soccer City, played host to the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Also remembered as the venue of Nelson Mandela's last public appearance, the stadium has earthen hues on its exterior and illumination at the base, giving it the appearance of an African pot on an open fire, giving it its other nickname, the 'Calabash'.
10. Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden
This is the world's largest hemispherical building.
Sweden's national indoor arena, with a volume of more than 21 million cubic feet, has hosted events ranging from Ice Hockey World Championships to UFC fights, and also a Britney Spears concert. The Ericsson Dome also represents the Sun in the Swedish Solar System, the largest permanent scale model of our Solar System.
11. HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala
The highest international cricket stadium in the world.
Situated at the altitude of 4110 feet, the HPCA Stadium is surrounded by peaks that are thrice as higher. Located amidst the Dhauladhar Ranges of the Himalayas, the stadium provides an experience of cricket like no other. Apart from the cricket ball, things flying in the air here include Golden Eagles and Griffin Vultures. The stadium also boasts of having The Dalai Lama as one of its frequent visitors.
12. AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia
Australian firm Cox Architecture designed it at a cost of $240 million.
The city of Melbourne is home to some of the most iconic sporting arenas, including the Melbourne Park, the MCG and the Etihad Stadium. But if you go by the looks, none of those look as spectacular as the AAMI Park. The geodesic domed exterior is made of a unique 'bioframe' that required only half the steel required to make an equivalent structure of the same size, giving unhindered views from all of the 30,050 seats inside.
13. Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada
This is the largest stadium in Canada.
Dubbed as the Big-O, due to its resemblance with a donut, the stadium was constructed as the principal site for the 1976 Summer Olympics. However, only an unfinished stadium was ready in time for the Olympics, and work on the stadium continued till 1987. The stadium, once described as a "masterpiece of organic modern architecture", caused so many financial problems, that by the time it was completely done, people switched its name to the 'Big Owe'
14. AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The AT&T Stadium is the largest domed structure in the world.
Home to the Dallas Cowboys, the stadium has a seating capacity of 80,000. Built at a cost of $1.3 billion, it is one of the costliest stadiums in the world. It is also known for the world's fourth largest high-definition display screen.
15. Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing, China
The site where Michael Phelps' won eight gold medals.
During the 2008 Olympics, the Bird's Nest wasn't the only attractive venue in the city. The Beijing National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube for obvious reasons, hosted the aquatic events. The exterior is made up of 4000 ETFE pillow segments. ETFE being a polymer that transmits more light than glass. The end result is a treat for the eyes.
16. The O2 Arena, London, England
Another multi-purpose venue.
The O2 Arena might not be such a spectacular venue by itself, but the fact that its exterior is covered by the iconic Millenium Dome, makes it one of the most spectacular buildings in London. The Arena has hosted events for various sports including tennis, basketball, and boxing. Another interesting fact about the O2 Arena is that the Prime Meridian passes through it.
17. Wembley Stadium, London, England
One of the most iconic football stadiums in the world.
Completed as late as 2007, Wembley is the second biggest stadium in Europe. Home to the English national soccer team, the Wembley's famous arch stands above the stadium at a height of 436 feet, and its 1033-feet span makes it the world's largest single-span roof configuration. The stadium also has over 2600 toilets, probablt that most in any sporting venue in the world.
18. Olympiastadion, Munich, Germany
This stadium was the main venue of the 1972 London Olympics
The striking feature of the Olympic Stadium in Munich are the sweeping acrylic glass canopies, which was a groundbreaking design element at the time. It also hosted the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup. The construction of the stadium was aided by the fact that its location had a huge pit thanks to a bombing during the Second World War.
19. Arnos Vale, St.Vincent
The ground where Bangladesh won their first cricket match.
The Arnos Vale in Kingstown, St. Vincent, is so close to the sea that Chris Gayle could hit a six into the water. Situated at the southernmost tip of the country, the ground gives great views of the Grenadines Islands and is a lovely place to spend a day watching a game of cricket.
20. Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, Shanghai, China
This was built to host the ATP World Tour Finals between 2005 and 2008.
The stadium, located in Southwest Shanghai has a remarkable steel roof that has eight petal shaped retractions that open up in the shape of a blooming Magnolia, the city flower of Shanghai. The stadium now hosts the Shanghai Rolex Masters in October every year.
So what do you think? Are there other stadiums that could have the list? Tell us about the most beautiful stadiums that you have visited.