Essential Travel Experience #41 – Compare some unusual Man-Made, Free-Standing Structures

  Man seems to be fascinated with heights. We build tall buildings, always seeming to compete to have the tallest. We love air travel and we are mesmerized by space travel. Part of the reason must be the dramatic view and perspective these activities or locations provide. The “bird’s-eye view” is certainly different from our normal perspective where we are often looking up at things like trees and mountains.

    Thus there has been a profusion of “tall” things around the world, to enable us to get this perspective from above. Some of these structures are architectural marvels in and of themselves, besides the view they afford us. Here are some of my favorite tall-things-which-are-not-buildings. 

    In Seattle, Washington, there is the Space Needle, a very distinctive structure.

Space Needle

 From its base, it looks like this

Space Needle from below

 In St Louis, the Gateway Arch dominates the skyline

Gateway Arch & Old Courthouse

 Here is the view from below

Gateway Arch

 The best view of Niagara Falls comes from the Skylon Tower, an observation spot and restaurant in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

View of Niagara Falls from the Skylon Tower

 No one will return here for the food, but the view is certainly spectacular.

   Also in Canada is the world’s tallest of these free-standing structures, the CN Tower, in Toronto.

CN Tower, Toronto

It also dominates the city’s skyline

Toronto Skyline

    In Europe, the Arc d’Triomphe, in Paris, is one of the tall-non-buildings which offers dramatic views of the city.

Arc d'Triomphe

 Look at the Champs Elysses from the Arc and it appears this way

Champs Elysses

And, of course, the Arc’s neighbor, the Eiffel Tower, is one of the world’s most recognizable structures.

Eiffel Tower

 In Shanghai, the Oriental Pearl Tower adds drama to the skyline of the Pudong, the newest section of the city.

Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai

 Structures like the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, in Xi’an, China, were probably designed to be seen from a great distance since they were religious and the focal point of the community.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an


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