As a major British port, the docks in Liverpool have historically been central to the city's development. Several major docking firsts have occurred in the city including the construction of the world's first enclosed wet dock (the Old Dock) in 1715 and the first ever hydraulic lifting cranes. The best-known dock in Liverpool is the Albert Dock, which was constructed in 1846 and today comprises the largest single collection of Grade I listed buildings anywhere in Britain. Built under the guidance of Jesse Hartley, it was considered to be one of the most advanced docks anywhere in the world upon completion and is often attributed with helping the city to become one of the most important ports in the world. The Albert Dock houses restaurants, bars, shops, two hotels as well as the Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Tate Liverpool and The Beatles Story. North of the city centre is Stanley Dock, home to the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, which was at the time of its construction in 1901, the world's largest building in terms of area and today stands as the world's largest brick-work building.
One of the most famous locations in Liverpool is the Pier Head, renowned for the trio of buildings – the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building – which sit upon it. Collectively referred to as the Three Graces, these buildings stand as a testament to the great wealth in the city during the late 19th and early 20th century. Built in a variety of architectural styles, they are recognised as being the symbol of Maritime Liverpool, and are regarded by many as contributing to one of the most impressive waterfronts in the world.
In recent years, several areas along Liverpool's waterfront have undergone significant redevelopment. Amongst the notable recent developments are the construction of the Echo Arena Liverpool and BT Convention Centre on Kings Dock, Alexandra Tower and 1 Princes Dock on Princes Dock and Liverpool Marina around Coburg and Brunswick Docks.