Measuring beauty is a pretty philosophical task. But experts from design website Homedit have decided the best way to identify the most beautiful places in Europe is to take a landmark’s width, divide it by its height and compare that number with the ‘Golden Ratio’, which is 1.61803398875. This slightly dubious phenomenon was popularised by The Da Vinci Code, so we’re not convinced it’s a properly legit way to measure anything. But the places this survey has thrown up are really quite stunning, so maybe there’s something in it after all. Maybe.
In at number one is the golden Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kyiv. The Ukrainian capital is in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment, but the landmark is apparently the most mathematically beautiful on the Continent. Apparently, here’s only a 0.69 percent difference between its width-height ratio and the Golden Ratio. Near enough perfect.
Next up is Gaudi’s eternally unfinished Sagrada Família in Barcelona, which is just 5.23 percent off the all-important ratio. Then the list takes in some of Europe’s most impressive landmarks, from the medieval Prague Castle (7.88 percentage points off) to an island castle, the Château de Chillon, in Switzerland (34.65 percent).
Well-known landmarks like the Trevi Fountain in Rome and Milan’s Duomo also appear, but if you’re blown away by London’s Houses of Parliament or the Eiffel Tower, you’re going to be disappointed: their ratios just aren’t good enough.
Here is the top ten in full:
- Kyiv Pechersk Lavra – Kyiv, Ukraine (0.69 percent)
- Basilica of the Sagrada Família – Barcelona, Spain (5.23 percent)
- Prague Castle – Prague, Czech Republic (7.88 percent)
- Grand Palace – Brussels, Belgium (10.58 percent)
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Dublin, Ireland (15.17 percent)
- Trevi Fountain – Rome, Italy (15.37 percent)
- Notre Dame – Paris, France (16.13 percent)
- The Duomo – Milan, Italy (18.88 percent)
- Neuschwanstein Castle – Bavaria, Germany (21.58 percent)
- Chateau de Chillon – Veytaux, Switzerland (34.65 percent)