Giotto’s Campanile, Lotte Tower, Burj Khalifa, or Why Aerial Views are So Magnificent

Did you ever fly in your sleep as a child? I did. Do you remember those bird’s-eye views of Earth? I do. Impressions were magnificent – I was a bird. Have you ever noticed that when someone is standing on the edge of something like the Grand Canyon and posing for a photographer, more often than not, they raise their arms to the sides? Why? Because in that moment, they feel they have wings. At least, they would in the fantastic world of dreams.

Panoramic view from the Castle of Monsanto, Portugal.
Panoramic view from the Castle of Monsanto, Portugal.

However, if you aren’t lucky enough to live in Norway’s fjords or the Swiss Alps, but still want to get similar impressions, mankind invented bell towers for you many centuries ago.

Giotto’s Campanile, Florence, Italy

It’s 82 meters high, has no lift, but only 414 steps. So it will be a real fitness session for you, be prepared. Be prepared, also, for a long queue at the entrance, especially in summer. But a view of Florence, the cradle of the European Renaissance, is worth these efforts.

Giotto's Campanile, Florence, Italy.
Giotto’s Campanile, Florence, Italy.
One of the bronze doors of the Baptistery, Florence, Italy.
One of the bronze doors of the Baptistery, Florence, Italy.

In 1334, the construction was started by Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), the famous Italian painter and architect, when he was 67 years old. It was continued by Andrea Pisano (1290-1348), already famous for his beautiful bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery, and completed by Francesco Talenti (1300-1369) in 1359.

A view from Giotto's Campanile, Florence, Italy.
A view from Giotto's Campanile, Florence, Italy.
A view from Giotto's Campanile, Florence, Italy.
A wonderful tiramisu. Florence, Italy.
Be also prepared for a wonderful tiramisu. It’s Italy.

Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea

The world’s fifth tallest building (for 2019), 550 meters high, the Lotte World Tower has an interesting observation desk on the 118th floor. At first glance, its glass walls and floor are traditional enough, but the last one is non-transparent until you step on it. The impression is that the floor has evaporated and you are suspended. So before doing this step, get ready to feel like a bird stronger than ever. It’s a challenge. But wasn’t that the whole purpose of your visit?

Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea.
Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea.
The glass floor in the Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea.
The glass floor in the Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea.
The glass floor in the Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, U.A.E.

And, at last, the champion, Burj Khalifa (Khalifa Tower): 162 floors, 828 meters, the highest man-made structure of modernity that had, until 2016, the world’s highest occupied floor and the world’s highest observation deck. The observation deck named At the Top is located on the 124th floor. When the Canton Tower surpassed this height with its observation deck, the Burj Khalifa responded with a still higher one, the SKY, on the 148th floor. Even this one is now surpassed by the Shanghai Tower’s observation deck. Where will it stop?

The apotheosis of the engineering genius of mankind. Several thousand years ago, 1000 km away from here, people tried to build a tower “tall enough to reach heaven.” This famous one, the Tower of Babel, failed. It was even the same shape as Burj Khalifa. Now, they have done it. A miracle!

Standing in front of Burj Khalifa, you recall that as recently as the 1960s, half of the locals couldn’t even read and write. What a powerful leap forward in development! To find oil is only half the battle. The real art is to direct the profits in the right direction. And the Sheikhs have everything done right.

That’s what your mind says, but what do your feelings say? Standing at the top of Burj Khalifa, you feel a prehistoric bird inside of you starts to spread its wings preparing to fly again. Every time, looking at Earth from the air, you probably realize that you have already seen all this in your childhood dreams, when you were able to fly. Isn’t that the reason observation decks and any high structures are so popular and attract us so much? What do you think?

39 Responses to “Giotto’s Campanile, Lotte Tower, Burj Khalifa, or Why Aerial Views are So Magnificent”

  1. Andrew Petcher Says:

    There is something really satisfying about climbing towers. Last year we climbed the leaning tower of Bologna – 499 steps!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heide Says:

    Your photos are quite literally breathtaking, Victor, as are your meditations on the human desire (or need?) to climb ever higher. I instinctively seek out the tallest vantage point in every city I visit too, but have never explained it as poetically as you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wordsfromanneli Says:

    Those heights are amazing, and I can appreciate how hard it is to take a good photo of such tall buildings. Great post, Victor, but I’ll stay on the ground and just look at the pictures. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sharonsiconictravelphotographyblog Says:

    Nice photos and recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue Slaght Says:

    Incredible views from very different styles of architecture. I’d love to visit all three.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. a mindful traveler Says:

    Stunning views, Florence is simply beautiful, and I love those Bronze doors. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BBQboy Says:

    I’m a big fan of towers and of cities that have them. It’s one of the reasons I love Prague so much – so many towers one can climb, all giving fabulous views over the city.
    Of the above I’ve climbed the Campanile in Florence. The one in South Korea is very impressive…I’m sure those floors freak out a lot of people 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. MassageFeels Says:

    Victor, what a great blog post! I did feel a bit airborne, simply looking at your fantastic photos “) Really like how you combined three very different city views for this one. A wonderful journey, and always educational – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pam Says:


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yeah, Another Blogger Says:

    The colors of buildings in Philadelphia (I live near Philly) are similar to those in Florence, and to those in towns and cities all over the world. Earth colors. Your photos make me realize that.

    Neil Scheinin

    Liked by 1 person

  11. easterntrekker Says:

    I am new to your site and you have captured me. Amazing pictures. It’s been a while since I have been to Burj Khalifa. This brings back great memories.


  12. DhonnaTheExplorer Says:

    This is everything. Wonderful! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bin Dasmal Doors Says:

    Nice. Burj Khalifa is our valuable client. If you’re looking door suppliers in Dubai feel free to contact Bin Dasmal Doors And Storage Solutions.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. spankynet1 Says:

    Maybe it would freak me out a little but I think I would love Lotte World Tower. Standing not so tall at 5’2, sometimes climbing towers (with their irregular spaced steps) becomes more of a work out for me but the views are often worth it. Maybe I still have alot of growing up to do. I often dream of flying!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. tannachtonfarm Says:

    Yes! been to the top of the Burj Khalifa! stayed until sunset, then watched the dancing waters below before descending to the next platform, then out for supper at a nice place on the edge of the dancing waters. The tower lit up with soft lights in the backdrop. Amazing. My daughter was teaching kindergarten children at a private school in Dubai, so my son and i got a ‘local’ introduction to the amazing cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.a

    Liked by 1 person

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