There are many impressive buildings that, for various reasons, were never completed. These unfinished structures often carry as much, if not more, mystique and fascination as their finished counterparts. From religious monuments to ambitious political projects, these structures tell stories of ambition, failure, and the complex history of their time.

Sagrada Família (Barcelona, Spain)

sagrada-familia (1)
Sagrada Familia – foto: TTstudio /

The Sagrada Família, located in the heart of Barcelona, is undoubtedly the most iconic unfinished building in the world. Designed by the visionary architect Antoni Gaudí, construction began in 1882. Gaudí dedicated his last years entirely to this project, but by his death in 1926, only a quarter of the work was completed.

Construction has since faced numerous delays, ranging from civil wars to technological challenges.

Nevertheless, construction continues, with an expected completion around 2026, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. The church is a striking example of Gaudí’s unique style, with its organic forms and complex symbolism continuing to inspire visitors and architects worldwide.

National Monument of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland)


The National Monument of Scotland, often affectionately referred to as “Scotland’s Disgrace,” was designed as a tribute to the Scottish soldiers who died in the Napoleonic Wars.

Inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, construction began in 1826. Unfortunately, funding ceased in 1829, leaving the monument as only a fragment of the intended structure. The unfinished monument still stands on Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

Ryugyong Hotel (Pyongyang, North Korea)


The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang is one of the most striking examples of unfinished architecture in modern times. This 105-story building, intended to be the tallest hotel in the world, began construction in 1987. Due to economic setbacks and structural problems, construction was halted multiple times.

Although the exterior of the building was completed in 2011, the interior remains largely unfinished and unusable. The Ryugyong Hotel symbolizes North Korea’s broken dreams and isolation on the world stage.

Palace of the Soviets (Moscow, Russia)


The Palace of the Soviets was intended to be a monumental symbol of the power and prestige of the Soviet Union. Designed in the 1930s, it was to be a giant congress center with an imposing statue of Lenin on top.

However, construction was never completed due to the outbreak of World War II. Only the foundations were laid before the project was abandoned. The project remains a reminder of the unrealized ambitions of the Soviet era and the turbulent history of Russia.

Hassan Tower (Rabat, Morocco)


The Hassan Tower in Rabat is another fascinating example of an unfinished building. Begun in 1195 by the Almohad Caliph Yacoub al-Mansour, it was intended to be the largest minaret in the world alongside the largest mosque. However, construction was halted after the caliph’s death in 1199, leaving the tower only 44 meters high instead of the planned 86 meters.

The ruins of the unfinished mosque and the tower are now an important historical monument and tourist attraction, recalling the rich Islamic architecture and history of Morocco.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City, United States)


The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City is one of the largest cathedrals in the world but remains unfinished to this day.

Construction began in 1892 and has faced numerous interruptions due to financial problems and changing architectural visions. The cathedral combines elements of Romanesque and Gothic styles and is a significant cultural and religious center in New York.

Despite its unfinished state, it remains an impressive and inspiring building, still serving as an active place of worship and community.

Torre de David (Caracas, Venezuela)

The Torre de David, officially known as the Centro Financiero Confinanzas, is a 45-story skyscraper in Caracas. Construction began in the early 1990s but was halted in 1994 after an economic crisis.

Since then, the building has become notorious as a vertical slum, inhabited by hundreds of families without permission. Despite the initial vision as a symbol of economic prosperity, the Torre de David is now a tragic symbol of Venezuela’s economic and social problems.

Deutsches Stadion (Nuremberg, Germany)

Nürnberg, deutsches Stadion, Hitler
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-2004-1103-501 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The Deutsches Stadion, planned by Adolf Hitler and designed by architect Albert Speer, was intended to be the largest stadium in the world, with a capacity of 400,000 spectators.

Construction began in 1937 in Nuremberg but was never completed due to the outbreak of World War II. The stadium was to be a significant part of the Reichsparteitagsgelände, where the Nazi party held its massive rallies.

Although only the foundations and some structures were built, the site remains a powerful symbol of the megalomaniac ambitions of the Third Reich and the impact of war on architectural projects.

Sathorn Unique Tower (Bangkok, Thailand)


The Sathorn Unique Tower, also known as the “Ghost Tower,” is an abandoned skyscraper in the heart of Bangkok.

Construction began in the 1990s during a period of economic boom in Thailand and was intended as a luxury apartment complex. However, the Asian financial crisis of 1997 brought construction to an abrupt halt, and the tower has since stood empty and unfinished.

The imposing but dilapidated structure has become a popular destination for urban explorers and photographers.

Pyramid of Neferefre (Egypt)

The Pyramid of Neferefre, located in the necropolis of Abusir, Egypt, was built during the 5th dynasty of the Old Kingdom, around 2460 BC. King Neferefre died unexpectedly early in his reign, leaving the pyramid never advancing beyond the base construction and a partially completed upper layer.

Instead of a complete pyramid, a low, mastaba-like structure remained. Nonetheless, the site contains important archaeological finds, such as fragments of reliefs and inscriptions that provide valuable information about Neferefre’s short reign and the religious and architectural practices of ancient Egypt.

Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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