The worlds tallest building during the medieval ages – and why they actually got shorter

A recently wrote an answer on Quora, regarding the worlds tallest buildings during before the industrial revolution and the modern times. Interestingly enough, it turned out they actually got shorter for a very long time!

The Question:
What were the tallest buildings during the Middle Ages, and what are the tallest buildings today?

The answer, as I wrote it:

Wikipedia has the answer, of course there is a list for this… :) See: Timeline of three tallest structures in the world.

  • For a very long time the Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building / structure.
  • 1300-1549 the tallest building in the world was the Lincoln Cathedral in London – 160 meters
  • 1549-1625 St Olafs Church in Tallin – 159 meters (actually shorter then the Lincoln Cathedral, but the top spire at the Lincoln Cathedral collapsed in 1549 and was not rebuild)
  • 1625-1647 During this short time it was the St. Mary’s Church in Stralsund – 151 meters (also shorter, because St Olafs Church was hit by lightning and burned down, not rebuild at the same height)
  • 1647 and for a couple of hundred years Strasbourg Cathedral was the tallest buidling – 142 meters (also shorten then the previous record holders – as the St. Mary Church in Stralsund was struck by lightning in 1647, and burned down. It was rebuilt with a baroque dome, which, completed in 1708, is only 104 meters tall).

So those are the tallest structures during the middle ages. At least according to wikipedia… And somewhat unexpected that the tallest building actually got shorter during this long period of time.

As for the tallest today, that is rather simple:

  • Burj Khalifa – 829.8 meters
  • Tokyo Skytree – 634 meters
  • Shanghai Tower – 632 meters

I really like the way Quora makes it possible to find interesting topics and questions. And also makes you research things yourself, even if you do not know the answer – such as in this case.

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