Whiling away the afternoon at the magnificent Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia

Click on title to view photo in large format. On any given day, crowds of tourists and locals while away the day at the magnificent Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. With its unique design that mimics the sails of a ship, it is one of the most famous and easily recognizable buildings in the world. Upon awarding it World Heritage status in 2007, UNESCO called it “one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind.”

When an international panel awarded the contract for it in 1957, the concept for the Opera House was a radical new approach to construction. Its innovative engineering and design became the impetus for much of the unique architecture that followed during the latter half of the 20th century. Today, the Sydney Opera House welcomes more than 8.2 million visitors a year and is one of the world’s busiest performing arts centers. More than 2000 shows are performed each year for more than 1.5 million people.