Towers have been in use for thousands of years throughout virtually all of the world’s cultures and nations.
In ancient times, they served as a means of alerting large villages or towns to threats or intruders, as well as allowed people to have a view from the top in which they could see much farther than they would standing on the ground.
In this article, we will take a look at 10 of the most famous towers in history that are still standing across the various regions, as well as the details regarding the architects who designed these towers.
1. Eiffel Tower
There’s little debate among historians, architects and others as to just which structure can actually claim the title of being the most famous tower in the world.
The Eiffel Tower stands in Paris, France and is easily the most iconic and recognizable tower-like structures in the world and it is among the most visited sites in Europe, or the rest of the world.
The Eiffel Tower was designed by famous French architect Stephen Sauvestre and the structural engineering work done to complete the tower was carried out by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier.
Construction on the project began in 1887 and news of the project was circulated throughout newspapers all over the world. The Eiffel Tower was finally finished two years later in 1889 and it has since stood as the most notable towers in the world.
The Eiffel Tower has taken on its own iconic nature and it is often used as a symbol of the city of Paris or the French nation in general.
For people who live in and around the city of Paris, the tower is often fondly referred to as “La dame de fer,” which means the Iron Lady. It held the distinction of being the world’s tallest structure until 1930 when New York City’s Chrysler Building was erected.
2. Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is an architectural wonder that has long defined architects and fascinated historians. Located in Pisa, Italy, this tower was originally built to serve as a bell tower during the 12th century.
During this medieval period, other parts of Italy were home to magnificent buildings and structures that were designed to exhibit the architectural prowess of the builders and to serve as a means of beautifying their cities.
This tower was originally designed by famous Italian architect Bonanno Pisano, who was widely known as one of the most skilled sculptors and architects in Italy during the 12th century. Work began on the tower in 1173, and it took more than a century before it was finally completed in 1372.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa would begin to show signs of foundational mistakes just a few years after it was finished and people in the city of Pisa began to remark that the tower was noticeably leaning after only a decade from the time of its completion.
The ground below one side of the tower began to give way and the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been slowly sinking for hundreds of years.
Since that time, the tower has not fallen thanks to exhaustive efforts on behalf of modern architects to install counterweights to prevent the structure from tipping over. Due to its peculiar appearance, it has become one of the most iconic tower structures in the world.
3. CN Tower
One of the most widely recognized structures in the city of Toronto, Canada is the CN Tower. This distinct tower was originally built to serve as a radio tower and its appearance resembles many other such structures throughout the world that were built in the mid-20th century.
In recent years, technological advancements have rendered the tower all but obsolete as a radio tower, yet it still functions as a major tourist attraction for those visiting Toronto.
The CN Tower was designed by John Andrews, one of Australia’s most famous architects in history. The tower’s construction started in 1973 and it was finished 3 years later in 1976.
After its completion, the CN Tower was recognized as the world’s tallest free-standing structure, standing at more than 1,815 feet at the peak of the antenna spire.
The tower’s distinction as the tallest free-standing structure in the world stood until 2007 when the Burj Khalifa was built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The CN Tower has been featured in films, artwork, photography and other media for the last few decades and it draws more than 2 million visitors each year.
4. Space Needle
One of the most unique tower structures in the entire world is Seattle, Washington’s Space Needle. This tower is much like Toronto’s CN Tower in comparison as it was originally built to serve as a radio tower, as well as a symbol of the technological advancements that were being made in the city during the mid-1900’s.
The Space Needle was designed by John Graham & Company, an architectural firm headed by John Graham who gained significant notoriety and fame after the erection of the tower.
Construction on the project began in 1961 and the Space Needle would be finished later that same year after workers completed the project at lightning speed thanks to various mechanical and engineering wonders.
The tower is much shorter than some of the other structures that were built during this time period, but the Space Needle was intended to serve more as a tourist attraction than a radio tower. From the top of the tower, visitors can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city of Seattle from the 605-foot tower.
5. Big Ben
London’s Great Bell is often fondly referred to as “Big Ben” by locals to the capital of England. This structure is one of the world’s greatest towers and has stood in the city for more than 150 years.
Big Ben is another tower structure that’s recognized as an iconic symbol of identity for the city in which it is placed.
The Great Bell is a structure that adjoins the Palace of Westminster in London and was designed by renowned English architect Augustus Pugin in the middle of the 19th century. The tower’s construction began in 1843 and it would take more than a decade for it to be completed in 1859.
It is only the third-tallest clock tower in the United Kingdom, but its 316-foot structure is one that dominates the London skyline. Big Ben is known to have many millions of visitors each year as the city of London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
6. Sky Tower
The city of Auckland, New Zealand is known for the pride its citizens have in their distinct local culture. The city’s Sky Tower is one of the most notable architectural achievements in the small island nation and it is another tower that many would consider to be among the world’s most famous.
The Sky Tower was originally built as a telecommunications structure, as well as an observation tower that provided visitors with a breathtaking view of the Auckland skyline.
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Designed by architectural firm Craig Craig Moller Ltd, the Sky Tower was initially built to be a part of a massive casino that was owned by Harrah’s Entertainment. Work began on the Sky Tower in 1994 and it was finished a few years later in 1997 as one of the most expensive structures in the country’s history.
The Sky Tower stands at approximately 777 feet in height, a measurement that some believe to be a nod to the coveted “777” result for those playing the casino’s slot machines. The top’s observation deck is known as the Skydeck and is one of the main tourist attractions in Auckland.
7. Tashkent Tower
Another one of the most distinct towers in the world is located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Tashkent Tower currently stands as one of the tallest towers in this continent and is also one of the tallest in the world.
It was originally constructed to serve as a television tower and is officially referred to as the Tashkent Television Tower.
This tower was designed in the early 1970’s by Y.P. Semashko of the architectural firm, I.N. Terziev-Tsarukov. Work began on the Tashkent Tower in 1978 and it would take another 6 years for the project to be fully completed in 1984.
The tower is currently used for television stations, as well as various governmental organizations from the nation of Uzbekistan.
It stands at 318 feet at the top floor, but the far-reaching antenna spire stretches far beyond this level, reaching 1,230 feet in length at the tip of the spire. It is the tallest structure in the city of Tashkent and is one of the more notable structures in the small country.
8. Blackpool Tower
Lancashire, England is home to one of the most distinct towers in the world. The aptly-named Blackpool Tower sits in Blackpool, Lancashire and is a domineering, black-colored tower that stretches far above most of the other buildings in this coastal city.
The structure was originally intended to serve as a replica of the Eiffel Tower, located in Paris, France, but it has since taken on an identity of its own.
The Blackpool Tower was designed by Maxwell and Tuke, a prominent architectural firm that was established in the mid-1800’s in England.
Construction began on the tower 1891 and it was completed 3 years later in 1894. The tower is made up of mostly steel, but it also includes more than 5 million Accrington bricks as well.
The roof of the Blackpool Tower stands at just over 518-feet-tall and it is one of the biggest tourist draws in Lancashire. Guests to the tower are able to experience walking on the see-through glass floor on the tower’s upper stories that’s known as the “Walk of Faith.” It also features a large pub that has capacity for more than 1,700 patrons at one time.
9. Amazon Tall Tower Observatory
The Amazon rain forest is the world’s largest tropical rain forest and stretches numerous miles in a seemingly-endless sea of thick trees and other vegetation.
In order to gain any sort of view above the rain forest canopy, those in the Amazon must rely on a key piece of observational infrastructure known as the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory.
This massive tower stands in the middle of the vast expanse of lush, green rain forest along the Amazon River. It was designed by the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and is mostly a base camp with nearby sites for studying soil processes, vegetation and wildlife in the Amazon rain forest.
The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory stands at 1,066 feet and is one of the most valuable structures to the scientific study of the Amazon and our ability to understand the wide range of ecosystems that thrive within the dense maze of vegetation.
10. Kyiv TV Tower
One of the tallest and most famous television towers in the world is the Kyiv TV Tower. Once deemed the world’s tallest free-standing metal structure, the Kyiv TV Tower was originally built to allow television stations to broadcast to a much greater area around the Ukraine capital at a time before televisions were capable of relying on satellite signal.
The tower was designed to stand in the Soviet capital of Moscow, Russia, but was moved after Russian officials became concerned with its structural integrity during the design phase. Construction began in 1968 and it was completed just a few years later in 1973.
The tower took a direct hit by a Russian missile in the first weeks of the 2022 Battle of Kyiv in which Russian forces attacked the city. Due to the significant damage that resulted from the missile strike, the Kyiv TV Tower is currently no longer able to broadcast TV signals to the public.
The structural foundation and much of the main building of the tower is still standing, but it is unclear whether or not the Kyiv TV Tower can be repaired in the near future and return to broadcasting.