STUNNING LANDMARKS TO EXPLORE
Since ancient times people have always had a fascination with reaching the sky and have built towers, as symbols of power. Initially towers were only able to reach a few metres high and were meant as lookout towers to defend cities, parts of castles and religious buildings, as well as on some bridges.
The world’s love of towers has increased immensely over the centuries. Since the 19th century towers have become modern-day architectural and engineering marvels, rising majestically from the earth, built with the latest ground-breaking construction techniques and futuristic designs.
No matter which country you travel to there are stunning towering landmarks to explore, as the world has enthusiastically embraced these high density, giant urban structures, which are now symbols of growth and prosperity.
Many towers have become popular tourist attractions and iconic monuments recognised the world over, inspiring travellers to visit, for those much-sought after instagrammable photos.
If you love panoramic views, the observation decks and skyparks that some towers have open to the public at the top levels, are not to be missed. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in a city and quite a breathtaking experience, provided you don’t suffer from a fear of heights or mind elevators that travel at a fairly high speed.
Interesting fact: The tallest tower in the world is currently the Burj Khalifa (pictured below) in Dubai, at 828 metres high, and 163 storeys, and has been the tallest for 10 years now. To give you some perspective, it is nearly 3 times the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The world’s love of towers has developed into an extremely competitive arena over the years, with many cities vying to break the latest world record of highest tower in the world, or most innovative design, to accentuate their skyline and add prestige to the country. In so doing they have in fact become super-structures, reaching to the heavens, above the clouds and out of this world, topping each other out.
The latest trend around the world is twisting towers. The first one being the Turning Torso of Malmö, Sweden and others have spiralled into existence, such as Canton Tower of Guangzhou and Moscow City Tower (both pictured below), and Absolute Towers of Mississauga, Canada.
More importantly they are striving to become greener and more eco-friendly. Like the Bahrain Twin Towers (pictured below) with wind-turbine blades between them that generate electricity.
Timber towers, made with predominantly wood, have existed for many years, in the form of pagodas, temples and cathedrals, and have become a popular trend in skyscraper developments for their sustainable alternative to carbon producing concrete and steel.
Interesting fact: The tallest timber tower in the world is currently the Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway.
Towers with the most interesting designs
The towers pictured here are some of the most interesting visually, in my opinion, each with their own unique identity. I have visited many of them, and if you love to appreciate architecture on your travels, as I do, then you should check out these towers for some travel inspiration.
1. Most of the world’s tallest towers are in Asia, with China having 13 of the 20 tallest buildings.
2. Tallest tower in:
- Europe is the Lakhta Center, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- North America is the One World Trade Centre, New York.
- Asia is the Burj Khalifa, Dubai.
- Africa is the Leonardo, Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Australia is the Q1, Queensland.
- South America is the Gran Torre Santiago, Chile.
3. Oldest skyscrapers in the world are in USA, New York and Chicago, built in the late 19th century.
4. Oldest towers still in existence are the spires of cathedrals and churches, and bell towers, which include:
- the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa bell tower, in Italy, which commenced in the 12th century,
- the Strasbourg Cathedral spire, in France, which commenced in the 11th century, and
- the Two Towers of Bologna, Italy, which commenced in the 10th century.
- Tallest church tower in the world is Ulm Minster in Ulm, Germany, but will be surpassed by Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, when completed in 8 years.
5. Bologna, Italy, is known as the city of towers, Turrita, because it had about 100 towers in medieval times, 24 which still exist now.
6. Most expensive tower built is Abraj Al Bait Towers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a tower complex, of 7 hotels and the tallest clock tower in the world (pictured above).
The world's love of towers will continue
The world’s love of towers will continue to prevail with many new superstructures planned, especially in Asia and Middle East.
Currently in mid-construction, but suspended, with no completion date, is the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, which would become the new tallest building in the world, originally designed to be one mile high, but was reduced to one kilometre high.
Other super-tall towers under construction are Merdeka Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia which will become the 2nd tallest in the world in 2021. And New York’s Central Park Tower with a finish date of 2021 also.
Some of the most innovative projects on the global stage are skyscrapers made of wood. Many eco-friendly designs are planned internationally, in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Japan and Australia, and will use predominantly cross-laminated timber to help lower the carbon footprint.
Other amazing towers
As you can see the world’s love of towers has lead to the creation of superstructures, some of which are like vertical cities in the sky.
Towers not only form part of the unique and recognisable landscape of a city and a country, but are symbols of our times and the continuing evolution of urban architecture, where the sky is the limit.
I hope my article on the world’s love of towers gives you plenty of travel inspiration.
Whatever your thoughts, feel free to comment on the world’s love of towers below.