Someone is not afraid of ups and downs, and those who prefer to use the elevator sometimes lose a lot
«Around of the Light” talks about landmark staircases that can be found in Europe, America and Asia.
Tiger and turtle
The rollercoaster-like design is actually a work of art made from galvanized steel. It was erected in 2011 on a pile of zinc plant waste. The staircase-sculpture consists of 349 lattice-steps. The total length of the structure is 220 meters, of which 20 are dead loops, which gravity prevents from “conquering”.
The full name of the sculpture: “Tiger and Turtle” – Magic Mountain. The authors put the dialectic of speed and immobility into the concept, opposing “the logic of eternal growth to an absurdly contradictory structure that cannot be unambiguously interpreted.”
USA, New York
Vessel — a 16-story building in Manhattan's Hudson Yards — consists of 154 flights of stairs and 80 viewing platforms. Stairs with a total length of 1.6 km (2500 steps) visitors can explore like a “jungle” in a playground. Entrance is free, but with tickets.
Critics have compared the design to Escher's drawings, calling it a year-round Christmas tree, a hornet's nest, Manhattan's answer to the Eiffel Tower…
The Holy Well
Chand Baori, one of the deepest (about 30 m) step wells in India, built in the 8th-9th centuries, strikes with symmetry. The walls, going down like the faces of an inverted pyramid, consist of 13 tiers of numerous ladders, each of which has seven steps (there are about 3500 in total).
Tapestry of fire
A small Sicilian town has been famous for its ceramics for centuries. The Santa Maria del Monte staircase, built in 1606, has become a kind of monument to the traditional craft. Each of its 142 steps was decorated in the 1950s with majolica tiles of different styles and patterns, created by local craftsmen and representing the traditions of ten centuries.
In May, the stairs are decorated with patterns made from pots of fresh flowers, and on July 24-25, in honor of St. James, tens of thousands of candles are lit on it, and the staircase becomes like a lava flow.
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
The Chilean Jorge Selaron, who settled in Rio at the age of 36, once decided that the staircase that leads to the facade of his house does not look good. In 1990, the artist began to transform it, covering step by step (there are 215 of them) with tiles in the colors of the Brazilian flag.
Jorge bought tiles, looked for them in landfills. Her fans from different countries sent him. The work spanned 23 years. And ended on the day of the author's death. The body of the artist with mysterious burns was found on the steps in January 2013.
Sri Lanka, Sigiriya
The rocky plateau, on which King Kassapa built a palace and fortress in the 5th century, rises 180 meters above the plain. The stairs to the top were partially cut through the rock in ancient times, and have been partially replaced in our time with metal structures. To get to the palace, you need to climb 1200 steps.
The seam outside
The rock of El Peñon de Guatape looks like a giant monolith that has cracked and roughly swept with a “tick” seam. The “seam” is a zigzag staircase with 702 steps leading to a height of 220 meters from the foot. Halfway there is the temple of the Virgin Mary, and at the very top there is a shop, a recreation area and an observation tower on three floors.
Residents of the towns of Guatape and El Peñol, between which the rock is located, cannot agree on whose this is a tourist attraction.
Photo: SIME/LEGION-MEDIA (X5), HEMIS (X2), AGE FOTOSTOCK/LEGION-MEDIA
Material published in the magazine “Around the World” No. 8, October 2020, partially updated in February 2023