I like to travel and, to make a trip even more meaningful, I like to have a trip “theme”. This helps me research different places around the world that are all connected by one feature and decide which one I would like to create memories at. That’s why I’ve been doing research on the tallest structures around the world, even some which may not exist any longer, being fascinations of times long ago.
It seems that there are plenty to choose from. Apparently engineers are a competitive group, each generation trying to outdo the previous one. From monuments to occupied executive towers, architects and structural engineers and construction crews continue to impress humanity.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the tallest pyramid in the world. It rises 480.64 feet, or, 146.5 meters. And the Middle East will soon be home to the first building that will be over one kilometer tall, or, over half a mile high.
When the Chrysler Building was constructed in the 1930s, it was the world’s tallest skyscraper until it was unseated from its place of honor less than a year later by the completion of the Empire State Building. The Chrysler stands 319 meters high, or 1,046.59 feet. Because of the competition running rampant in construction circles of the time, the height of the skyscrapers spire was kept secret until the last minute so no one would really know the entire height of the building.
New York’s Empire State building is one of the most famous structures in the world. From its rooftop, if you tossed a pencil over the side, it would actually create a dent in the sidewalk below.
For eight years, 1967 until 1975, Moscow ranked number one tallest building with Ostankino Tower. Ousting the Empire State Building from such status, Russia constructed a radio/television tower that is a masterpiece of design. Unfortunately a fire in 2000 destroyed the interior of the tower and ongoing construction efforts attempt to restore the integrity of the tower.
The prize for the current tallest structure in the world goes to Dubai. In 2007 an enormous skyscraper completed construction in the city of Burj Khalifa. With 163 floors of office, residential, restaurant and retail space, it stands 829.8 meters high, or 2,722.44 feet.
Before Dubai, there was the CN Tower of Toronto, Canada. For thirty years this structure held the honorary title of the tallest structure in the world. Standing 553 meters high, or 1,814.3 feet, the tower gets struck by lightning about seventy-five times every year. Engineers, however, anticipated this possibility and integrated into the design long strips of copper which conduct the electricity throughout the entire building and safely to the ground below.
And, of course, how could anyone mention tall, architectural masterpieces without mentioning the Eiffel Tower? For forty-one years the French could proudly declare that their beloved city of Paris was home to the world’s tallest structure. The tower is 324 meters high, or 1,062.99 feet. It was constructed with the purpose of celebrating the French Revolution’s centennial anniversary with the unveiling occurring at the World’s Fair of 1889. Despite the fact that this marvelous work of architecture has become an icon and symbol of romance amongst the millions who have visited it, originally hundreds of Parisian artists petitioned to have its construction halted, calling the design “monstrous”.
Even though the Eiffel Tower can no longer hail itself as the tallest structure in the world, it is, perhaps, the favorite for tourists. Including myself. I can certainly envision myself at its apex, looking out upon all of Paris, peering through binoculars and selecting the perfect sidewalk café to visit for a cup of coffee and sweet pastry.