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Tianjin Binhai Library one of the world's greatest places
Published on: 2018-08-29
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030Tianjin Binhai Library

On Thursday, Time announced its first annual list of the world’s greatest places, and it’s quite a surprising one. Rather than rehashing the old favorites, the magazine has stepped well outside the box to give new, unexpected suggestions that have readers itching to get out and go. Though twenty of the one hundred places selected are here in the United States, that leaves eighty more scattered across the rest of the world. From the frosty forests of northern Sweden to the steamy desert of rural Senegal, Time has lived up to its reputation as a trustworthy curator of the world’s best.

031"To assemble our first annual list of the World’s Greatest Places," the magazine wrote upon announcing the list, "Time solicited nominations across a variety of categories—such as museums, parks, bars, restaurants, theme parks, cruises and hotels—from our editors and correspondents around the world as well as dozens of industry experts. Then we evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence. The result is a list as diverse as the world it reflects, with 100 entries spanning six continents and 48 countries—highlighting everything from a Texas water park that empowers kids with disabilities to a Maldives resort that’s building an undersea abode to a library in Tianjin, China, that’s almost as wondrous as reading itself." That library, the Tianjin Binhai Library, has become nothing short of an Instagram sensation since opening late last year. More than a million books sit on shelves from floor to lofted ceiling all in a bright, brilliant white.

032Two more libraries aside from Tianjin’s make the list, as do an arboretum in New Delhi, a sky garden in Seoul and Hamburg’s futuristic new Elbphilharmonie. Some of the selections, though, are downright perplexing. The only entry from Canada is a boutique hotel in Vancouver; hostels in Madrid and Singapore were chosen, too. Other hotels include Kenya's Giraffe Manor and Amanyangyun near Shanghai, while guntû, Japan's beloved floating luxury hotel, was noticeably left off the list.

elbphilarmonie hamburg worlds greatest places 2018Hamburg’s futuristic new Elbphilharmonie

seoullo 7017 skygarden seoul worlds greatest places 2018 35Seoullo 7017 Skygarden in Seoul

This is a tad surprising, because if there's one thing that unites the items on this list, it's their modernity. In Southeast Asia, one selection from each of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia are included, yet rather than highlighting the centuries-old Thai temples, Balinese rice terraces or Vietnamese beach resorts you’d expect, all three selections opened in the past eighteen months. There’s nothing wrong with eschewing the fêted classics. But can you really say that visiting Governors Island is a higher priority than Angkor Wat or the Taj Mahal?

giraffe manor nairobi worlds greatest places 2018Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya

amanyangyun shanghai worlds greatest places 2018Amanyangyun in shanghai

generator madrid worlds greatest places 2018Generator Madrid in Madrid, Spain

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