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.
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.
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.
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?
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?