World's Tallest Stuff: Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The honor of tallest building in the world goes to the Burj Khalifa, which soars above downtown Dubai at 2,716.5 feet. Its 160 stories are filled with offices, 900 private residences, the Armani Hotel, a four-story fitness complex and an observation deck on the 124th floor. Since it opened, the Burj Khalifa has dwarfed all former "world's tallest buildings," including this one in Toronto.
World's Tallest Church: Ulm, Germany.
Ulm Münster in Ulm, Germany, is the world's tallest church, with a steeple measuring 531 feet. It was also the world's tallest building from 1890 to 1901, when it was overtaken in height by this building. The stunning Gothic church in Ulm was spared from bombing in World War II that de stroyed much of the surrounding town. When you visit, climb the 768 steps to the gallery for spectacular views of the surrounding scenery.
World's Tallest Pyramid: Giza, Egypt
Ten miles west of Cairo, the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, stands as an ancient sentinel over the Giza Plateau. (See what famous face is also on the plateau.) No one knows exactly when it was built, but estimates date its construction to around 2,600 B.C. The pyramid originally stood as high as 480 feet, but time and the elements have eroded it to 454 feet. Still, that's about the same height as a 45-story building, and researchers state that if you stacked all 2.5 million stone blocks in the pyramid it would be taller than 30 Empire State Buildings. Now that's tall.
World's Tallest Waterfall: Angel Falls, Venezuela
Nineteen times taller than Niagara Falls, Angel Falls in Venezuela tumbles over the table-top mountain of Auyantepui, falling into a swirl of mist and water 3,212 feet below. The falls wasn't known to the wider world until American aviator Jimmie Angel flew over it in 1933 while looking for gold ore for a mining company. While trying to land atop the falls in 1937, his plane crashed — no one was hurt — and the wreckage remained there until 1970. It was reassembled and now is on display at the Ciudad Bolivar airport. See more photos from the national park where the falls are located.
World's Tallest Statue: Spring Temple Buddha, China
The Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China, stands 502 feet tall — impossible to miss for drivers along Highway 311. The Buddha stands atop a lotus throne in the Fodushan Scenic Area, not far from a famous hot springs. Completed in 2002, this Vairocana, or celestial Buddha, was reportedly conceived and built in response to an act of the Taliban in 2001
World's Tallest Tree: Redwoods, California
The world's tallest tree is something that's been a source of great debate, but it can't be denied that the Sequoia sempervirens, or California redwood, is a source of great height. In 2006, one such tree, christened the Hyperion Redwood, was discovered deep in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It measures 379.1 feet, or 9 feet taller than the previous tallest tree. Presumably, the Hyperion is still growing, as redwoods can live to be more than 2,000 years old. That's old, but it has a long way to go to catch up with the world's oldest living tree.
World's Tallest Bridge: Millau Viaduct, France
The state-of-the-art Millau Viaduct in southern France is the tallest vehicular bridge in the world, with a graceful mast that soars 1,125 feet into the air — higher than the Eiffel Tower. The cable-stayed design will be challenged for the record of tallest bridge in 2012, however, when the Baluarte Bridge on Mexico's Durango-Mazatlan highway is scheduled to be completed. See pictures of this work in progress.
World's Tallest Geyser: Steamboat Geyser, Yellowstone
Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park is the largest active geyser in the world, though not many people wait around long enough to witness it. The geyser can remain dormant for decades, but once it erupts — as it last did in 2005 — the water and steam can reach heights of 300 to 400 feet. That's more than twice the size of Old Faithful, which is much more reliable. How often does Old Faithful erupt?
America's Tallest Bridge: Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado
The Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado was completed in 1929 at a cost of $300,000 and remains the world's tallest suspension bridge. (Coming in a close second is the newHoover Dam bypass bridge, which sits 890 feet above the Colorado River in Nevada.) The Royal Gorge Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, but the area around it has plenty of modern attractions, including one of the world's tallest Skycoaster rides, which swings willing participants 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River at speeds of up to 50 mph.
America's Tallest Mountain: Denali, Alaska
With a summit at 20,320 above sea level, Denali is the tallest peak in the U.S. and deserving of its native name, which means, simply, The High One. Despite its beauty, the mountain is inhospitable: It's high enough to create its own weather; temperatures here can fall to minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit; and the summit is often shrouded in clouds. Merely catching a glimpse of the summit is a high prize for travelers to Denali National Park and Preserve north of Anchorage.
World's Tallest 'Ferris' Wheel: Singapore Flyer
It takes 32 minutes for the tallest wheel in the world to make one rotation. At 541 feet high, the Singapore Flyer is technically an "observation wheel," not a Ferris wheel. What's the difference? Ferris wheels are usually much smaller and have swinging chairs; the fixed passenger cars on the Singapore Flyer can hold 28 camera-toting passengers. Another familiar observation wheel is the London Eye, which is not as high, at 442.9 feet, but still offers fabulous views of the city.
America's Tallest Statue: Statue of Liberty
The tallest statue in America is also its most famous: Lady Liberty, who has been a welcoming sight for travelers arriving in New York City since 1886. From the base to the tip of her torch the statue stands 305 feet, 6 inches. (Without the pedestal she stands 111 feet, 6 inches).
Tallest Steel Roller Coaster: Kingda Ka, Six Flags, N.J.
The Kingda Ka roller coaster hurls its victims to a dizzying height of 456 feet before dropping them into a 270-degree spiral. This record-breaking coaster at Six Flags Great America in Jackson, N.J., also accelerates from zero to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and at one point drops so precipitously that passengers briefly experience weightlessness.
World's Tallest Fountain: King Fahd Fountain, Saudi Arabia
The tallest fountain in the world is in Jeddah, a port city on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. King Fahd's fountain pulls saltwater from the Red Sea and shoots it 1,024 feet into the air at speeds of up to 233 mph. For years, Muslims have been traveling to this important city, as it's the primary gateway to Mecca. Adventurous travelers will also find great diving in the Red Sea, but outsiders generally aren't permitted to visit Saudi Arabia unless traveling for business, visiting close relatives or making the pilgrimage to Mecca. Brush up on the State Department's entry requirements.
mother goddess of the universe. The Nepalese call it Sagarmatha, goddess of the sky. To the Western world it was called Peak 15 until Sir George Everest, a British surveyor, measured its height, and in 1865 became the mountain's namesake. Mount Everest is 29,029 feet tall, though the National Geographic Society recently determined it's actually 6 feet taller. (The government of Nepal has not changed the official height, so it officially remains at 29,029 feet.) Shifting plate tectonics are pushing Everest about 4 millimeters higher every year.
World's Tallest Water Ride: Pilgrim's Plunge, Santa Claus, Ind.
The scream-inducing Pilgrim's Plunge drops 10 passengers from a height of 131 feet at speeds of 50 mph, down a water slide tilted at a terrifying 45-degree angle. Pilgrim's Plunge is found at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., and brave pilgrims who live for heart-pounding water rides will have plenty to be thankful for here.
World's Tallest Concrete Dam: Grande Dixence, Switzerland
The Grande Dixence Dam in the scenic Swiss canton of Valais is 935 feet tall and generates enough hydroelectric power to light up 400,000 homes. The world's tallest concrete gravity dam sits at one end of Lake Dix, and is a scenic two-hour drive through the southern Alps from the Matterhorn. In comparison, the tallest dam in the Unit Statesmeasures 770 feet