You are probably reading this because you are fascinated by heights and records; these structures were built because you are fascinated by heights and records. It is undeniable that when someone constructs something that is the ‘tallest’ or ‘highest’ of its kind, it instantly acquires fame and distinction, as does the person, company or institution constructing it.
So, rather than vanity or glory, one may argue that the reasons for constructing the tallest structure, the highest swimming pool, the highest observation deck or the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world may be pure economics. It may well be a fail-safe guarantee to success. Well, whatever the reasons, let’s leave the analysis aside for a while, and partake of the thrills!
The Highest Manmade Structure
It is no surprise that the list begins with Dubai. Knowing the Emirate kingdom’s insatiable appetite for glory, it may own every ‘highest’ of the world in a few years. Presently, the most significant record on this list is safely in its grasp. The Burj Khalifa, extending a yawning 828 meters into the sky, has no parallel anywhere in the world.
The tower opened in January 2010 as Burj Dubai, ironically amidst a local economic crisis brought on by the bankruptcy of the city’s biggest (state-owned) development company. It was renamed shortly after Sheikh Khalifa, the president of the UAE, bailed the city out with a $10 billion ‘gift’. Thanks to the massive tower, Dubai owns a slew of other records, including the highest restaurant in the world and the longest elevator travel distance in the world.
The Highest Swimming Pool
This is one that Dubai doesn’t have. The International Commerce Center in Hong Kong owns the distinction with a pool positioned 490 meters above the ground. So, if it is a hot day, not only do you have a pleasant swim in store, but half a kilometer up in the sky the air will be a full 3 degrees Celsius cooler than down below.
The Highest Observation Deck
If you are in Shanghai, the observation deck at the World Financial Center (the 3rd tallest building in the world) is probably the most irresistible attraction. It is the highest deck in the world, and from its top-most point, a screaming 474 meters above the ground, what you get is a stunning bird’s eye view of the entire city. Apart from the height itself, you are sure to get a real thrill by standing against the angled glass walls, which will make you feel as though you are leaning over the vast city half a kilometer below your feet.
The Tallest Ferris Wheel
No, it is not the famous London Eye. The distinction is owned by the Singapore Flyer, which at 164 meters is a full 30 meters higher than the London Eye. It is even a whisker higher (5 m) than China’s Star of Nanchang, which is the second highest Ferris Wheel.
A spin in one of the Flyer’s 28-seater air-conditioned capsules will cost you a mere $25, but bear in mind that it has broken down four times before. Once, passengers were stranded in there for six hours without any air-conditioning.
So, if you are planning a trip to one of these mega-cities, remember to keep your feet firmly off the ground!