Incredibly Tall Versions of Everyday Things
We are now used to seeing enormous buildings reaching up high into the sky, but what about the everyday things that you might not realise also come in huge versions? The following are some unbelievably tall versions of things you are used to seeing a lot smaller.
The Tallest Elevator
There is some debate over what should be classed as the planet’s biggest lift. The Guinness Book of Records lists it as being at the Mponeng Gold Mine in South Africa, where miners travel down 2,283 metres underground before a second elevator takes them even further into the centre of the Earth.
This elevator is four times the height of the Burj Khalifa and carries 120 miners at a time, with up to 4,000 workers using it each day as it travels at speeds of up to 40mph. Yet, if you want to see the biggest outdoor lift you need to go to China.
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Hunan is an incredible place that is said to have inspired the movie Avatar. It is also home to a 326-metre glass elevator that is built into the side of a mountain. You can zoom up to the top in under two minutes or else you can spend two and a half hours hiking up if you prefer the exercise. It isn’t clear whether it has external access ladders for maintenance or how else they carry out essential work.
The Longest Staircase
Sometimes tackling even a modest staircase can seem like tough work, so spare a thought for the train maintenance workers at Niesen Mountain in Switzerland. To help them get to the top of the mountain a handy staircase was built alongside the track, with a whopping 11,674 stairs on it and an average gradient of 55%.
This makes it by far the world’s tallest staircase, well ahead of the likes of the 1,665 steps on the Eiffel Tower and the 334 steps needed to get to the top of Big Ben.
It is only open to the public on one day each year, except for the thrilling but tiring Niesen Staircase Race in June. As many as 500 competitors take about an hour to reach the summit during this punishing race.
The Tallest Chimney
You may or may not realise that the UK held the title of the world’s tallest chimney from 1835 through to 1889, as giant new chimneys sprung up in thriving industrial cities like Birmingham and Glasgow. Before that, it was a glass bottle company in Dublin that first held the record.
These days, those chimneys that appeared during the Industrial Revolution appear tiny next to the mammoth GRES-2 Power Station in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan. At over 419 metres tall, it is well ahead of the competition and taller than the first four holders of the tallest chimney record combined.
It is part of a power generating station that is fuelled by coal and is only slightly smaller than the Empire State Building. The area surrounding it is known for its rich coal reserves and also for the gulag where high-profile political prisoners were imprisoned.