The Most Beautiful Staircases on Earth
Take a look and see which staircases you'd most want to get out of breath on.
We use them all the time in our lives: in our homes, our offices, in stores, and around town. Staircases are something we don't think much about, except when there's no escalator to make things easier for us.
Thought all stairs were mundane? Not these. All of these staircases are beautiful and have interesting stories. Not all are available to climb, and some even exist just to make a statement, but they all make a (stair)case for rethinking taking the stairs the next time you have the option between them and an escalator.
- 179 VOTES
Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New MexicoPhoto: slack12 / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0Built in the 1880s by an unknown carpenter, the staircase has no center beam and no support other than at the base and the top of the stairs. There aren't even any nails or glue holding it together. It's a mystery as to how the staircase is freestanding.
- 273 VOTES
16th Avenue Tiled Steps, San FranciscoPhoto: Curtis Cronn / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0This 163-step mosaic was a two-year community project that began in 2003, with over 300 volunteers and 220 neighborhood sponsors for the handmade tiles. The project was set in motion as a part of a larger, overarching beautification project of San Francisco.
- 375 VOTES
Stairs of Reconciliation, Graz, AustriaPhoto: Bernd Thaller / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0These opposite spiraling staircases inside the palace, The Burg, briefly join together on each floor and then separate again before finally joining together at the end, thus giving it the name "Stairs of Reconciliation." Built in 1499, the double staircase is considered an architectural masterpiece as well as a symbol of eternity.
- 471 VOTES
Lello Bookstore, Porto, PortugalPhoto: Nan Palmero / Flickr / CC BY 2.0Built in 1906, Lello is considered to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Lavishly ornate, it has carved, wood ceilings, a stained glass roof, and in the center of the store, a grand, red staircase that looks as if it'll swallow everything up as you descend it. The bookstore fell into great disrepair over several decades, but went through a massive renovation project in 1995 and returned to its former glory.
- 574 VOTESPhoto: Jenny Salita / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0Founded by King Carol I after Romania gained independence in 1877, Peles Castle has 160 rooms inside, including 30 bathrooms, and each room is decorated with a different theme or architectural style. The palace cost an estimated $120 million in current U.S. dollars, but was seized by the Communist regime in 1947 and turned into a museum in 1953. This staircase is in the Hall of Honour, a room spanning three floors and covered in intricate woodwork.
- 656 VOTES
Inverted Tower, Sintra, PortugalPhoto: Susanne Nilsson / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0This Inverted Tower is on the grounds of the Quinta de Regaleira, a palace that was constructed in 1910. Also known as the Initiation Well, this inverted tower was never used as a water well. Instead, it was for ceremonial purposes, including Tarot initiation rites. The 27-meter staircase's spaces and landings all have significance to Tarot mysticism.