For centuries viewed as the capital of the Western World, London has stood the test of time as a global city. The British capital has been the seat of power, wealth, and influence within the United Kingdom, and Europe's third-largest metropolis is now home to more than 8.5 million people, along with many of the world's top multinational banks, corporations, and cultural institutions. As it follows, the rapid rise of the city's financial core — known as the City of London — has coincided with the growth of the city itself. The towers of industry and finance that today dot the skyline are among the world's most recognizable, their distinctive shapes designed by an eclectic mix of internationally acclaimed architects, whose mark on the modern city cannot be ignored.
Viewed above from London City Hall, the City of London skyline as seen back in 2008 was impressive enough in its own right. The 2001-03-built "Gherkin" Tower (30 St Mary Axe), centre, is balanced by a collection of modern and historic structures filling out the city's financial core. Compared to the same view below, captured from the same vantage point in 2015, the City of London's skyline has exploded into a forest of avant-garde office towers, each with their own unique nickname — a popular British tradition it would seem.
Starting from the left, one of the most notable additions to the skyline is the "Walkie Talkie" (20 Fenchurch), followed by the distinctively angular "Cheesegrater" (Leadenhall Building), to the right of which the Heron Tower can be seen just behind the Gherkin, while 70 Mark Lane sits in front. Looking further to the right, the blue upper levels of the St. Botolph Building can be made out, above which the green-hued Nido Spitalfields Tower pokes up into the sky. Meanwhile, lining the banks of the Thames, a pair of Mid-Century Modern office blocks have given way to the Three Quays Apartments, centre, while the construction site to the left will soon become known as Landmark Place.
A dramatic evolution by any standard, the upward ascent of the London skyline has been made all the more noteworthy due to its eccentricity. The collection of highrises now defining the City of London have become an iconic symbol of the British capital's long-standing status as a top-tier global city and economic powerhouse.
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