The most beautiful universities in the world

The University of Glasgow founded in 1451 is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world | Source: Hurtigruten

Some universities around the world offer much more than just learning environments. They offer spectacularly sumptuous places to live, explore and acquire knowledge.

The finest universities are architectural masterpieces and stunning monuments in their own right with ancient libraries, magnificent botanical gardens and magnificent museums among the spectacular grounds.

Such is the prestigious nature of the world’s best educational institutions, many are named World Heritage Sites protected by the United Nations for their cultural, historical, scientific or other significance.

University of Cambridge

Location: Cambridge, England

Consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, the prestigious English institution spans 710 acres comprising 31 colleges each with a unique design and stunning ancient architecture. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world with notable buildings including King’s College Chapel and the Cripps Building of St John’s College.

The stonework in this masterpiece is significant, including Queens College containing ‘some of the earliest patterned brickwork in the country’ and St John’s College displaying examples of English and Flemish style stonework.

Located close to Cambridge city centre, the River Cam runs through the campus and is home to eight museums and art collections. Famous alumni include Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking.

St John’s College, Cambridge | Source: Saint-Jean College
Queens College, Cambridge | Source: Will Pryce for Country Life

National Autonomous University of Mexico

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

The largest university in Latin America, the National University of Mexico is a breathtaking sight designed by some of Mexico’s best-known architects, including Mario Pani and Enrique del Moral. One of the largest campuses in the world spanning 7.3 square kilometers, the university includes several museums, a library with a mosaic by Juan O’Gorman and an Olympic Stadium which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1968.

The main campus, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, is also adorned with murals by some of the most recognized artists in Mexican history, including Diego Rivera and the iconic Rector of David’s Tower. Alfaro Siqueiros.

David Alfaro Siqueiros Mural | Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Trinity College

Location: Dublin, Ireland

One of the seven ancient universities of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen Elizabeth I founded Trinity College in 1592 as the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin. Defined by its intricate medieval architecture, the university’s most iconic building is Trinity College Dublin Library, designed in an elegant Baroque style.

The library contains around 7 million printed volumes – as a legal deposit for Great Britain and Ireland, a copy of each publication must be deposited in the library. One of Dublin’s premier tourist attractions, the approximately 47 acres of grounds also contain a chapel and public theater designed by George III’s architect Sir William Chambers and a state-of-the-art business school.

Notable alumni include some of Ireland’s most famous writers, including Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker.

The Long Hall of Trinity College Dublin
The Long Hall of Trinity College Dublin | Source: The Guardian

Royal Roads University

Location: British Columbia, Canada

Located in Hatley Park National Historic Site on Vancouver Island, Royal Roads University features 565 acres of landscaped gardens and natural woodlands. The main building of Chateau Hatley looks like a beautiful royal residence from a fairy tale surrounded by expansive walking paths, stunning scenery and magnificent views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The University has been used as a filming location, including the transformation into Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for the x-men movies. Visitors can tour the Royal Roads University Castle, Heritage Gardens and Museum with Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2009 saying; “There is surely no more beautiful campus in Canada.

Royal Roads University
Château Hatley, Royal Roads University | Source: Beautiful Home

Yale University

Location: Connecticut, United States

The prestigious Ivy League University founded in 1701 is famous for its Gothic Revival architecture and buildings designed by famous architects such as Frank Gehry. It is also known for several iconic modern buildings, including Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art, Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink, and Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building.

The campus is also home to Yale University Library, the third largest college library in the United States, containing approximately 15 million volumes. Blending Gothic, Georgian, and modern buildings, the university also boasts 500 acres of athletic facilities, including the Yale Golf Course.

Campus of Yale University in New Haven | Source: Spark Admissions

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Location: Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong

A relatively modern university founded in 1991, the campus spans 148 acres in the Clear Water Bay countryside overlooking Port Shelter. Built on terraces carved into the hillside, the university is known for its modern architecture and views with residences and sports facilities directly on the waterfront. Highlights include the Lee Shau Kee Library with 12,350 square meters of floor space spread over five levels and the large entrance plaza with a sundial sculpture.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology | Source: New Straits Times

The University of Bologna

Location: Bologna, Italy

Founded in 1088, the University of Bologna is the oldest continuously operating university in the Western world with five campuses in Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini. Defined by its grand architecture, spectacular buildings dating from the Middle Ages and Renaissance include the magnificent Bologna University Library with vaulted ceilings, dark woodwork and ornate columns.

The campus is also home to Palazzo-style buildings and an approximately 5-acre botanical garden.

Bologna University Library | Source: Flickr

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