From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

The creation of Gustave Eiffel, built at the end of the 19th century, was almost twice as high as the previous record holder

In the spring of 1889, the World Exhibition opened in Paris . Perhaps its main exhibit was the tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel. The appearance of this openwork design marked the beginning of the era of high-rise construction. “Around the World” tells how humanity has been moving towards this significant event for several thousand years, erecting pyramids, cathedrals and other structures.

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

Why to the Eiffel Tower

< p>From the 3rd millennium BC. e. and until 1889, the highest buildings were almost entirely stone or brick religious buildings, and the height record for a long time belonged to buildings in the region of 150 meters.

With the advent of the Eiffel Tower, the record was almost doubled, and structures of steel and concrete stretched further upward – radio masts, television towers and skyscrapers. Therefore, we accept the date of appearance of the creation of Gustave Eiffel abroad.

The next doubling of the maximum height occurred 118 years later, when in 2007 the construction of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai was completed. The height of the Khalifa Tower is 828 meters, or almost 830 meters, including the top of the spire.

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The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

146 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

The pyramid of Cheops (pictured & nbsp; – in the center) was completed around 2560 BC. BC, and for the next 3900 years it remained the tallest structure on the planet (of those, at least, the height of which was reliably recorded). Other large Egyptian pyramids were probably the predecessors of the Great in this series, but this is not certain.

Lincoln Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, England

160 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals : 10 tallest structures in the world before the Eiffel Tower

This Gothic cathedral in the city of Lincoln was the first in almost four thousand years to overcome the mark of 146 meters. It began to be built back in 1088, and a wooden spire reached the mark of 160 meters in 1311, crowning the central tower of the structure, – this height is confirmed by contemporaries.

The record held for 238 years, until the storm knocked down the spire in 1549. They did not begin to restore it, so one can only assess how the cathedral looked before the storm from paintings and models.

St. Mary's Church in Stralsund, Germany 

151 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest buildings in the world before the Eiffel Tower

After the fall of the spire of Lincoln Cathedral, this suddenly became the tallest building. Its builders went to success for a long time: in 1382, the bell tower, which had been built for several decades, collapsed. It was restored by 1478, only to have the top of the tower and the spire destroyed by a storm just 17 years later. The destroyed was restored, making the building a little higher.

This version held the honorary title of the highest in the world, until after 20 years it was overtaken by the cathedral in Beauvais. And when it collapsed, the church returned to the first place for another 74 years, on which it remained until lightning struck the spire and it, along with the roof and the bell tower, burned down. The church acquired its current appearance by 1708, its height today is 102 meters.

St. Peter's Cathedral in Beauvais, France

153 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

The builders of this cathedral, which began to be erected in 1225, were plagued by failures: in the first decades, there was not enough money for construction, in 1248 some of the vaults already erected collapsed, after which the work stopped.

The construction of the French Gothic Parthenon ”, as the 19th-century Neo-Gothic master Eugene Viollet-le-Duc described the cathedral, continued until 1569, when the huge 153-meter central tower with a spire was finally completed. The cathedral did not stay among the leaders for long: the central tower collapsed only four years later, in 1573.

Out of competition: St Olaf's Church in Tallinn, Estonia

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

Oleviste, as this church is called in Estonian, is just one of those contenders for the title of the tallest building in the world, the result of which cannot be verified. According to some reports, when after another lightning strike and fire (at least ten such incidents were recorded, and not only the bell tower, but the entire church burned down three times), the bell tower and spire were restored, it reached a height of 159 meters.

If so, then for several decades until 1625 the church was the tallest building in the world. The only problem is that this result is not verified – the testimonies of witnesses and units of measurement differ. In any case, after another fire in 1647, the spire was built at a much lower height, about 120 meters, which is too far from the previously declared record.

Strasbourg Cathedral of the Virgin Mary, France

142 meters< /h3>

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

This huge sandstone building was erected for more than 260 years, and they were able to build only one, northern, tower, but they did not undertake the southern one. But even one tower was enough for the cathedral in 1647, after the fire of the church in Stralsund, to become the tallest building in the world for a long 227 years.

How is it, you will be surprised, because the pyramid of Cheops is higher ?! It was higher, but by 1647 erosion had shortened it to 139 meters. So Strasbourg Cathedral and took the lead. And survived centuries and many events, including the Reformation, the transformation into the Temple of Reason in the French Revolution and the hit of air bombs in 1944, after which the restoration lasted almost half a century.

St. Nicholas Church in Hamburg, Germany

147 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest structures in the world to the Eiffel Tower

In the early morning of May 5, 1842, the fire, later called “great”. It raged for three days, destroyed a third of the Old City and killed more than 1,700 people. The ancient church of St. Nicholas, built and rebuilt from the middle of the 14th century, also collapsed.

The construction in its place of a new one, in the neo-Gothic style, was entrusted to the British architect George Gilbert Scott. The construction was carried out on donations and was completed by 1874, and the bell tower of the church (in the photo – on the right) became the highest building in the world – not for long, however. In 1943, the church was seriously damaged by bombing – so much so that in 1951 they decided to dismantle it, leaving only the bell tower as a monument.

Notre Dame Cathedral, France

151 meters

151 meters

h3>

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest buildings in the world to the Eiffel Tower

After 229 years, humanity has again reached the mark of 151 meters – in 1876 in Rouen, they finished restoring the spire with a lantern on the central tower of the ancient (foundation was laid back in the 106th) Gothic cathedral. The previous spire, shorter and made of wood, burned down from a lightning strike in 1822, so they decided to make a new one from metal.

So it stands, having survived the fires and bombings of World War II. It was this cathedral that Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, John Ruskin and Roy Lichtenstein depicted on their canvases.

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Cologne Cathedral, Germany

157 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest buildings in the world to the Eiffel Tower

Another record lasted only four years: in 1880 Peter's Cathedral was completed in Cologne, 632 years after the start of construction. The cathedral was laid in 1248, slowly built until 1473, and then work was stopped, making the crane on the south tower a symbol of the city for four centuries.

The workers returned to the site only in 1842, already with more modern materials and technologies. During World War II, the cathedral with two tall towers served as an excellent reference point for bomber pilots and cover for infantry and tanks, but survived all this and by the end of the war was left standing in the middle of the ruins of Cologne almost alone.

Washington Monument, USA

169 meters

From pyramids to cathedrals: 10 tallest buildings in the world to the Eiffel Tower

The last building in our selection held the rank of the most the high one is only five years old, and, pay attention, it is made in the Egyptian style – after 577 years, the circle is closed. They built the obelisk for 36 years, finished in 1884, faced with marble and topped with an aluminum pyramid weighing about three kilograms – the largest single piece of aluminum at that time.

There are stairs inside the obelisk, so you can climb to its top to look at Washington. However, already in 1889, the construction of the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, which became the tallest building in the world before the age of skyscrapers – in 1930 it was surpassed by the New York Chrysler Building.

Photo : Getty Images, Darkone/en.wikipedia.org, WMC75/Alamy/Legion Media

Published June 2021, partially updated December 2022

Nikita Kharchevnikov

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