The Greatest Cities in the World

What are the absolute best of the best? There can only be a small number that really rise to the top when it comes to power, beauty, culture, history. Keep it to ten or fewer.

My list, not in any order -

New York
London
Barcelona
Paris
Amsterdam
Prague
Tokyo
Sydney
Rio de Janeiro
Almost but not quite -

Montreal
Berlin
Cairo
Shanghai
Moscow
Los Angeles
Delhi
Jerusalem

Just IMHO

London,
Singapore,
New York,
Hong Kong

I would add Hong Kong to my almost list. Don’t know what Singapore adds though.

I forgot Rome on the top list. Obviously.

Roma
Venezia
Paris
Singapore
Chicago
New York
Tokyo
London

Venice is wonderful, but I’m not sure it’s large or really important enough to make the list.

I’ll add Mexico City. It’s…something else.

Istanbul has long been one of the world’s great cities and belongs on the top 10 list. It’s still a really neat place, thanks to its remarkable geographical setting, its sophistication and urbanity, its millennia of civilization, and the richness of its layers of history and culture. It’s also the best city for a walking tour I’ve ever been in. That has to count for a lot.

I’ll limit my list to those places where I have been:[ul]
[li]Rome (Incredible architecture, art and food)[/li][li]Paris (beautiful city, great art and the food)[/li][li]Vienna (where I would live if I wanted to die young from congestive heart failure and obesity but what fun hanging out at the coffee and pastry shops all day! and they also have some art and architecture)[/li][li]San Francisco (great walking city)[/li][li]Chicago (a city full of great small eateries and also has art and architecture)[/li][li]Boston (the best place for a sense of American history and great seafood)[/li][/ul]

If historical significance is an element, then Venice and Istanbul certainly make the grade. If it’s the modern status and role of the cities, then they both are nowhere near.

Savannah

In no particular order;

London
NYC
Berlin
Shanghai
Hong Kong
Tokyo
Amsterdam
Rio
Mexico City
Bombay

I’ve heard good things about Prague

This is my top ten list, before looking at any of the other responses:

NYC
London
Rome
Tokyo
Moscow
Berlin
Paris
Beijing
Sydney
Washington, DC

I was trying to think of cities that had a combination of the attributes listed in the OP, particularly power and history. After looking at some of the other responses, I’d have to think about adding Hong Kong and Istanbul (maybe, it doesn’t have much power) and knocking off Sydney or Beijing or Washington. Probably have to add Hong Kong and delete Sydney.

No one’s mentioned Athens or Beijing yet, so I will.

Of the cities that I’ve visited:
Athens
Beijing
London
New York
Rome

Of the cities that I haven’t visited, but which I suspect belong there:
Jerusalem
Paris
Rio de Janiero
Tokyo

My full list of cities that have the greatest worldwide influence, after some though:

New York
London
Tokyo
Hong Kong
Paris (for its power to shape European behaviour as a whole)
Los Angeles - for its dominance of mainstream culture
On the second tier:

Delhi
Singapore
Washington DC - it happens to be the seat of power, but that doesn’t define the city itself
Moscow
Beijing

Third tier:

Johannesburg
Cairo
Jerusalem
Tehran
Houston
Shanghai
And maybe Frankfurt or Berlin

Incidentally, a Wikipedia article on World Cities lists the top cities as:

London, New York City, Paris, Tokyo, Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan, and Singapore.

I’m sorry, but I’ve been to Milan and it sucks. No way.

OTOH, they list Chicago, which I approve of.

Overall, Milan is a pretty ugly city. It looks like they never washed any of the buildings after World War II. Of course, most of the buildings in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, and other major nothern cities (with the exception of Venice) look like that, because they’re covered in soot. Michelangelo’s duomo in Florence was just cleaned; what a difference!

Regardless, Rome is the greatest city on earth.

That wikipedia list that Kyla posted looks like it favors economic activity over culture or history. Some people in Germany told me that Frankfurt is more formally known as Frankfurt-am-Main (for the river it’s on, like Stratford-on-Avon), and because of the skyscrapers they sometimes refer to it as “Mainhattan”. They don’t mean it as a compliment.

I’m working on my own list. It’s tricky. It’s hard to compare the great cities I’ve been to (few) with the ones I know only by reputation (many).

What is interesting to me is that I bet most Germans wouldn’t list Frankfurt as one of the top cities in Germany. Don’t get me wrong, I have an affinity for Frankfurt having lived nearby for a while and enjoyed my stay, but I think Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Dortmund/Dusseldorf and maybe Hannover would score higher in Germany (and are mostly larger cities). Frankfurt has it’s status as a European transport hub to recommend it, and is home to a lot of fairs/conventions and finance. But politically speaking it’s relatively nothing, sort of like Atlanta versus Washington, New York or Boston.

Psshhh…

Cleveland. Hands down.