Petronas Twin Towers KLCC, Malaysia

Resembling twin silver rockets plucked from an episode of Flash Gordon, the Petronas Towers are the perfect allegory for the meteoric rise of the city from tin-miners’ hovel to 21st-century metropolis. Half of the 1500 tickets for 45-minute tours – which take in the Skybridge connection on the 41st floor and the observation deck on the 86th floor at 370m – are sold in advance online. Otherwise turn up early to be sure of scoring a ticket to go up.

Even though completed back in 1998, the shimmering stainless-steel-clad towers, designed by Argentinian architect César Pelli as the headquarters of the national oil and gas company Petronas, continue to epitomise contemporary KL. The 88-storey twin towers are the tallest pair in the world at nearly 452m and their floor plan is based on an eight-sided star that echoes arabesque patterns. Islamic influences are also evident in each tower’s five tiers – representing the five pillars of Islam – and in the 63m masts that crown them, calling to mind the minarets of a mosque and the Star of Islam. They look particularly impressive when illuminated at night.

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