16 November 2018
There is no substitute for the humble staircase. Simple, reliable and hugely important since the earliest times of human existence, stairs have been a part of everyone’s lives across the world. Put simply, there is no easier way to get from A to B.
However, what if A is really far away from B? In that case, a bit of creativity is needed. However, even in the most extreme circumstances, architects and builders are still looking to use the simple staircase as the base for travel, whether it’s up one floor in a home or to the top of the highest mountain!
If you’re still struggling to work out what to do for your bespoke wooden staircases, we’re sure you’ll sympathise with the effort that must have gone into creating these huge structures!
We recently featured this in our list of the most impressive stairs in the world, and there’s no denying the breath-taking nature of this structure. Situated at the top of Tianmen Mountain in China there is the highest naturally-formed archway in the world - the Heaven’s Gate. The spectacular ‘stairway to heaven’ takes visitors through the mouth of the mountain at 5,000 feet above sea level. There are 999 steps at a 45-degrees angle leading up to this heavenly structure, so although it is not an easy climb, the stunning view at the top is certainly worth the effort! Why 999 steps? Because 9 is a lucky number in Chinese culture.
One of the seven modern wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is an ancient settlement built around the 15th century on top of the mountains in the Cusco region of Peru. Made by the Inca people, it was considered a ‘lost city’ after their conquest by the Spanish and was only discovered by the outside world in 1911.
What is most impressive about this location is that while the Inca’s building prowess is undeniable, they very much lacked in other basic skills. Notably, the Inca’s had not discovered the wheel, and also did not use draft animals, meaning that all the stone had to be lifted to the top of the mountain by hand! There are over 3,000 steps around this incredible and steep structure, but those looking for a real challenge attempt the ‘stairs of death’. Incredibly steep and at points ridiculously small, this route is recommended for only the strongest of minds.
What’s the easiest way up a tricky mountain? If Tianmen is anything to go by, it’s a simple set of stairs. However, Taihang offers something slightly different – a spiral staircase to the top, one that is 300 feet high! Also named the stairway to heaven, this green drill-like structure sits away from the mountain, connecting with the peak via a bridge. Battered by the winds and often inhabited by birds, this is certainly an exciting way of reaching a summit.
One of the most popular locations in California's vast Yosemite National Park is the Half Dome - a granite rock formation that is over 4,700 feet above the floor of the valley. The final part of a long trek, a 120m climb of hard granite stairs, takes you to the summit of this natural formation.
An iconic stairway into the city of Odessa, Ukraine, the Potemkin stairs are a perfectly designed optical illusion. While only 192 steps long, they are designed to appear much longer when looked at from the bottom and create a very royal gateway from the sea into the city.
Formally recognised as the longest stairway in the world, the staircase following the path of The Niesen Funicular railway in Bern, Switzerland is a giant 11,674 steps long! Unfortunately, it is not usually open to public, as it has been deemed unsafe for consistent traffic year-round. However, you can take part in the annual Niesen Stairway Run - a marathon stair climb along the iconic triangle Niesen Mountain in the heart of Switzerland.
Of course, if you are talking about the longest ever staircases, then there are a few in this category that would claim to have this crown. From The Infinite Staircase in Munich that curls back down on itself to more artistic interpretations like Diminish and Ascend - a sculpture in Australia designed to appear like an infinite staircase shooting off into the heavens.
Thankfully, your new staircase is unlikely to require the incredible amounts of work that have gone into the stairs we have mentioned above. However, that doesn’t mean that your home can’t have the attention to detail, masterful creativity and a wow-factor that it deserves! With years of experience in designing stairs, we can transform any standard stairwell into a stunning focal point. Contact us today to kick-start your new stair design.