Reflections bring out the splendor of many things, and global cities old and new are no different. These metropolises stand out magnificently when reflected in water – that of the lakes, rivers and oceans on which they lie. Whether made up of age-old stone structures or towering glass skyscrapers, cityscapes literally take on another layer of beauty when their mirror images descend beneath them in perfect reflections.
20. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur has a large population, with 1.4 million in the city itself and a whopping 7.2 million in the greater metropolitan area. Still, it’s hard to tell that the Malaysian metropolis is so big when you see the pristine buildings and airy space between them reflected tranquilly in water, as here.
19. Ghent, Belgium
Ghent is one of the largest cities in Belgium as well as one of the most beautiful. Its architecture is a mix of new and old, with medieval structures still standing. The city has a quaint look, as you can see in the spectacular image of gabled houses reflected in the city’s canal. As of a 2008, Ghent had 594,582 inhabitants.
18. Montreal, Canada
Named for the three-peaked hill in the middle of the city (Mont Royal), Montreal is home to 1,620,693 people (as of 2006) and is the second largest city in Canada. You can't see it in this wonderful reflection of the city’s skyscrapers, but Montreal is made up of islands.
17. Sacramento, CA, USA
Sacramento is the capital of the state of California and has a population of 466,488. The city’s famous Tower Bridge can be seen reflected in this exquisite image.
16. Lisbon, Portugal
This stunning city is one of the oldest in the world, and even a mere glimpse of it shimmering in the water suggests it has a style all its own. The reflection in the river almost makes the skyline look like a multi-colored crocodile! Lisbon has a population of 545,245 within its city limits and is one of the most visited cities in Europe.
15. Boston, MA, USA
The old New England city of Boston has a population of 617,594. Founded by Puritan colonists in 1630, those settlers would surely never recognize this modern skyline, reflected wonderfully in the Charles River.
14. Los Angeles, CA, USA
Los Angeles is the second most populous city in America with a population of 3,792,621. With Hollywood in its bosom, it’s often called the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, and this brightly lit reflection only adds to that aura.
13. Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Luxembourg is actually a commune that has been given the status of a city in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The old quarters and fortifications have been marked as UNESCO world heritage sites. The metropolitan area, which includes some other communes, has 103,973 inhabitants. The image shows the river Alzette, as still as glass, with houses backing right up to its banks and reflected in its waters.
12. Seattle, WA, USA
A major seaport in the Northwestern United States, Seattle has a population of 608,660 (as of 2010). Its nickname is the ‘Emerald City’, a reference to the verdant evergreen forests in the area. You can’t see much in the way of trees in this photo of the skyline and Puget Sound, but it’s still a picture-perfect reflection.
11. Milwaukee, WI, USA
Reflected in this lovely lagoon are some of Milwaukee’s modern skyscrapers – a sign, perhaps, of its change from being almost exclusively a beer town (it was once home to four massive breweries) to one with many different facets. Milwaukee’s population is 594,833.
10. Chicago, IL, USA
Chicago is well known as the ‘Windy City’ for the strong winds that blow off the shore of Lake Michigan. The stunning evening reflection shows just a small portion of city, which is home to 2,695,598 people (as of a 2010 census).
9. Madrid, Spain
The modern meets the ancient in this photo: the relatively recent buildings reflected in the water abut the ancient Egyptian gateways of the Temple of Debod. Madrid itself is the capital of Spain and a major economic force with a population of 3,273,049.
8. Hong Kong
Hong Kong has an incredible natural harbor, which you see here reflecting some of its 7,650 skyscrapers. Its population of over seven million people is squeezed into an area just 426 miles square, making it one of the most densely populated places of the planet.
7. Atlanta, GA, USA
Atlanta is sometimes known as the 'City in a Forest' because of the number of trees it contains. This reflection of modern buildings meeting nature was photographed at Lake Clara Meer in Piedmont Park – a treasure the population of 420,003 must surely enjoy.
6. Saint Paul, MN, USA
The waters of the Mississippi River shimmer with the reflection of downtown Saint Paul in this next image. Saint Paul and its twin city on the opposite banks of the river are often known as Minneapolis–Saint Paul. Saint Paul has the smaller population, with 285,068 inhabitants.
5. Manila, Philippines
With 1,660,714 inhabitants (as of 2007), Manila is one of the most heavily populated cities in the Philippines and is also considered the world’s most densely populated city. Even so, this reflection of its buildings in the harbor gives a sense of airy space.
4. Perth, Australia
Tied for eighth place in the Economists’s 2011 list of most livable cities is Australia’s Perth. This photograph – which was taken from verdant Kings Park and shows the city center reflected in Swan River – gives you one idea why. A large city, Perth has a population of 1,696,062.
Singapore is a city-state made up of 63 islands, with a population of 5,183,700. It is a mix of green spaces and urban development – but the authorities are fast reclaiming land for the latter. Here we see the metropolis’ skyline reflected wonderfully in water.
2. New York City, NY, USA
The most populous city in the United States, the beehive of activity that is New York is home to 8,175,133 million people inhabiting an area of just 305 square miles. Yet at night, the shimmering beauty of the Big Apple’s famous skyline reflects magnificently in the waters around it.
1. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is a large city on the west coast of Canada with a population of more than 640,000 people. There are some stunning scenes to be found here – like this one. As photographer Tunde Pecsvari describes it: “The skyline made of skyscrapers and modern buildings meets a piece of nature in Stanley Park. Everything reflects on the calm water of the sea.” Wonderful.
Bonus: Hama, Syria
The giant wheel reflected in water in this photo is called a noria – a machine that was used for irrigation in times gone by, but whose value is purely aesthetic nowadays. Hama is the fourth biggest city in Syria, with 696,863 inhabitants as of 2009.