It’s not Rome or Paris, Sydney or San Francisco – the world’s most beautiful city may be one you’ve never heard of.
In a study called Eye-Catching Architecture commissioned by Online Mortgage Advisor, the walled cathedral city of Chester in the north west of England, close to the border with Wales and with a population of about 120,000 came out on top.
Venice was second and London third.
The ranking was determined by assessing the proportion of a city’s buildings with dimensions corresponding to the “golden ratio” of 1:1.618 – a barometer of beauty that mathematicians have looked to since ancient times.
The ratio is common in the natural world, including in leaves and shells.
Chester’s figure was 83.7 percent, according to the study, while Venice was close at 83.3 percent and London at 83 percent.
According to Leading Britain’s Conversation’s report on the study, “research shows that people find objects that unfold with this (golden) ratio of expansion inherently beautiful,” meaning that a building to match would typically contain attractive shapes and structures. .
According to LBD, researchers used Google Street View to scan for images on the front of thousands of buildings in historic cities around the world.
They plotted points on the corners of each building to determine “the ratio of the longest and shortest lengths of the dimensions.”
Those ratios were then compared to the golden ratio (1:1.618) to see how well they matched.
While the dataset was not published, it was pointed out that the UK company was analyzing many more local cities, which may have impacted the rankings. The Derby-based company was conveniently located just 90km away from Cheshire versus Venice.
“Using a famous mathematical concept, we analyzed thousands of buildings around the world to find out,” said the mortgage adviser behind the study, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.
Local Tourism Board VisitCheshire.com was understandably excited to be in the same beauty category as Venice and Paris.
“The old town is truly a breathtaking experience,” said the provincial tourism marketing agency, praising the Roman amphitheater and medieval stone carvings.
So how did the rest of the world compare?
1. Chester, UK – 83.7 percent
2. Venice, Italy – 83.3%
3. London, UK – 83%
4. Belfast, UK – 82.9%
5. Rome, Italy – 82%
6. Barcelona, Spain – 81.9%
7. Liverpool, UK – 81%
8. Durham, UK – 80.5%
9. Bristol, UK – 80%
10. Oxford, UK – 79.7%
11. Birmingham, UK – 79.4%
12 = Edinburgh, UK – 78.9%
12 = Cardiff, UK – 78.9%
13. Prague, Czech Republic – 78.7%
14. Exeter, UK – 78.5%
15. Bath, UK – 78.2%
16. Canterbury, UK – 77.8%
17. New York, USA – 77.7%
18. Worcester, UK – 77.6%
19. Athens, Greece – 77.5%
20. Cambridge, UK – 76.1%
Last month, Time-out unveiled the world’s best cities for 2022 with the publication naming Edinburgh in Scotland as the top destination, with the city’s ‘awesome skyline’ being one of the reasons it came out first.
The list put Chicago in second place and Medellín in Colombia in third place.
The inaugural list was created by asking some 20,000 people around the world what makes their city great, through a survey known as the Time Out Index.
The publication used the resulting data to compile its global city ranking.